While the festive season brings with it plenty of cheer, it can also be a challenging time for people with hearing loss.
Amongst the buzz of end-of-year functions, nonstop carols and the loud chatter of a family gathering, facing the holidays with a hearing loss can lead to people missing out on important conversations or feeling disconnected from loved ones.
Hear and Say Audiologist, Sharon Bruna offers her tips below for managing hearing loss over the holidays.
As the end of the year draws closer, many people jump to book in appointments before their calendars are full of festive celebrations. Most clinics – including Hear and Say – also shut between Christmas and New Year. If you’ve been considering getting a hearing test or you’re due for a check-up with your audiologist, look to book as far in advance as possible to avoid potential delays.
The holidays are filled with a slew of work, school and family commitments, many within difficult environments where we often strain to hear. Even the most state-of-the-art hearing aids are not an exact match for having natural hearing – but remember, even people without hearing loss still have trouble at times too!
To best set yourself up for success at a social event, consider these strategies:
- Engage in face-to-face communication where possible. Face who you want to hear and try to turn away from noise. Ask people to move to a quieter area at the function if possible, away from the noise source such as music and the bar.
- Consider where you’re seated. It’s not realistic to expect you’ll be able to hear from one end of a large table to the other. Look at sitting in the middle of a group, or next to those you’re most eager to catch up with.
- If you’re out at a restaurant, ideally seat yourself with your back towards the majority of the room, so that you’re facing those you want to hear around your table.
- The use of a discreet remote microphone which links directly to your hearing aids is also very helpful at noisy functions and in restaurants.
Be kind to yourself
Added socialising and concentration in noisy environments is a leading cause of auditory fatigue – the exhaustion felt after extended periods of listening – so remember to be patient with yourself and take a break when needed. Let those you feel comfortable with know about your hearing loss, so they’re aware and can make adjustments too.
This time of year is also a good reminder to finally take charge of your hearing health if you’ve been putting it off – and make that booking for a hearing test before December rolls around once again!