It’s that time of year again when department stores are stacked high with festive ornaments and your neighbors have slowly started to dress their yard with exciting lights and trinkets. Perhaps you’ve joined in on the holiday fun and displayed your holiday collection too… ‘tis the season after all!
While the season may bring many opportunities to celebrate and spend quality time with loved ones, it’s no secret that hearing loss during the holidays can be overwhelming and sometimes difficult. It may be hard to focus on what one person is saying amidst excited chatter or hear a loved one clearly from across the room, but a little compassion and careful planning can go a long way this holiday season.
How can I support my loved ones with hearing loss during the holidays?
Holiday parties can be a great way to reconnect and celebrate with friends and family, but it can also be physically and emotionally taxing for loved ones who are hard of hearing. Conversations can be more difficult to follow during social gatherings, and jokes may fall flat–especially if background noise is interfering with hearing aids. Luckily, there are many tips that can help you prepare for the holidays and make this holiday season more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone:
- Face the person you want to speak to and say their name to start a conversation. Annunciate clearly and do not cover your mouth or eat while speaking.
- Reserve seats in the middle of the dinner table nearest everyone for guests who need to read lips and join in on conversations.
- Minimize background noise so conversations are more easily understood and there are fewer distractions.
- Do not shout from across the room to start a conversation or to be heard. It may be hard to know where the sound is coming from and whom it is coming from.
- You may have to repeat yourself if something wasn’t heard the first time. Show compassion and rephrase things if needed.
- Look for signs like facial expressions or a long pause that can indicate that something was not heard and repeat yourself.
- Do not dismiss conversations or say, “never mind” when asked to repeat something. It can be disheartening or come off as offensive for your loved one.
- Stock up on batteries for hearing aids or hearing assistive devices.
- Designate a safe area where hearing aids can be recharged or stored for safekeeping.
Read more on communication tips for talking to people with hearing loss.
Connection throughout the holidays and beyond!
Whether you’re keeping tabs on each other through various social platforms, email exchanges or with a caption phone, inclusion during the holidays can help make loved ones who are hard of hearing feel valued, respected, and supported. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, being hard of hearing can tend to isolate people from others. “When you have to struggle to converse, you’re less likely to want to socialize in groups or go out to restaurants.” Thankfully, staying in touch with friends and family has never been easier.
Online platforms like Facebook and call captioning services like ClearCaptions can make it easy to stay connected with friends and family. However, having internet service has become an essential part of staying connected for everyone. Ensure your loved ones can easily communicate throughout the holidays and all year-round with these programs that can help make internet service more affordable.
- Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that can help low-income consumers gain access to communications services at a more affordable price. Monthly discounts are given on qualifying telephone service, broadband internet service or bundled packages for those who are eligible.
- The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an program that for low-income households. See if you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program here.
Remember, a little compassion and some considerate planning this holiday season can go a long way. Do you know someone who is living with hearing loss who doesn’t yet have a caption phone? Help them get connected before the holidays! Visit our Sign Me Up page or call 866-246-7850. Happy holidays!