As I sit here writing this today, it is with disbelief that Christmas Day is NEXT WEEK! I don’t know about you but it’s sure crept up on me this year. We’ve not got long left to make sure all the gifts are wrapped and ready!
I can only image how busy everyone’s diary currently is with lots and lots of festive catch ups, dinners and parties! Unfortunately, when you have a hearing loss, social gatherings can lead to challenging listening situations. This is no different at Christmas, perhaps even heightened. We have collated our top tips, as we have done in previous years, for you to have a read through and prepare yourself to have the best possible experience this Christmas.
Perhaps the most obvious: if you own hearing aids, use them! Don’t forget that digital hearing aids are more than just sound amplifiers, so they won’t just be making the carols louder! They will filter out the unwanted noises and help you to focus on speech. They will also reduce background noise and cut back on distortion. If you are staying away from home during the festive period, don’t forget to take spare batteries, domes and filters with you as well as your cleaning kit.
One way to make sure you are in the best possible environment to enjoy the festivities is to improve the sound around you. You can do this by following a few simple actions:
1. Find a quiet corner – try to avoid standing next to speakers or even in the noisy kitchen area. This will ensure you are able to hear conversations properly.
2. Try to position yourself so you can see as many people’s faces as possible – seeing the gestures and faces of whoever is speaking can help you to lip read and understand what they’re saying. It would be advisable to stand somewhere that has good lighting and nothing is blocked from view from decorations.
3. Ask for assistance – your partner or a loved and trusted family member will be more than happy to help you and repeat anything you’ve not understood discreetly for you. This can help you to feel more confident in the conversation.
Obviously background noise will make it harder for you to hear, especially when there are lively conversations, singing and noisy present unwrapping. When background noises increase, we naturally all talk louder to compensate which forces the conversation volume to quickly escalate. This will make the whole event noisier which can be challenging if you have a hearing loss. To make the most of these situations, you can try the following:
1. Ensure the volume of background music isn’t too loud – everyone loves a Christmas classic but we need to be mindful of everyone in the room
2. Leave the dishes until later – clattering of kitchen dishes can create an awful lot of background noise to those with a hearing loss so leaving this until the party is over would be a real help
3. Turn off the TV – this noise can distract from conversation and make it harder for people to hear conversations
We know that the people around us may not always know how to help a loved one with their hearing loss in the best way so the best thing to do is to tell them! Everyone wants to have a successful and pleasant Christmas time and anything anyone can do to make your experience better won’t be too much to ask!
If you or a loved one is struggling with hearing and you need a little help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.