19 Dec Hearing Over the Holidays: Dinners
The spirit and joy of the Holiday season are meant to be shared amongst loved ones. Whether it be the laughter of children as they play around the Christmas tree, the cheerful holiday music being hummed by your spouse, or that “Happy Holidays” phone call shared with an old friend, our ability to engage with others during the holiday season depends on our ability to communicate. While the Holiday season should be a joyous time, for those struggling to hear it can be a frustrating or exhausting time. For people with hearing loss, it is a constant strategic game to sit in the proper position to hear best, or to fill in the missed parts of the conversation; for some, this leads to anxiety, frustration, or withdrawal.
Here are a few tips for better hearing at family gatherings:
1) If you missed part of the conversation, don’t just fake your way through it. Be part of the conversation and stay engaged. Ask for clarification, specifically stating the part of the sentence that you missed.
2) Try to reduce as much background noise as possible. If you are having a conversation with a small group of people in a larger party, try to break off into a smaller section of the room that may not be as loud. Choose the calmest section of a restaurant or party to socialize in.
3) Sit in the center of the dinner table so you are close to people all around you. If you sit at the end of a long table, your chances of hearing the folks at the end of the table is minimal.
4) Try to keep good lighting to facilitate your ability to rely on facial cues to help fill in the blanks when you mishear something. We all lipread a bit everyday!
5) If the music is too loud at a party – as it often is – don’t hesitate to ask for the volume to reduced slightly. It can often make it difficult to focus on a talker when the music is overwhelming your auditory system.
You shouldn’t have to think about hearing over the holidays. If you find yourself constantly working hard to hear, or relying heavily on the tips above, it is time to have a hearing test and see what can be done to improve your enjoyment of the holiday season and the rest of your life. The holidays are a time for giving, and the coming of the new year is a time for change. Why not invest in your happiness and well-being, or resolve to improve your life through better hearing?