It’s that time of year again when holiday decorations go up and you spend time with many family members and friends. This can be a joyful time, of course; however, if you have a hearing loss, it also can be stressful when you are not able to follow the conversation of loved ones. To avoid missing out on any memories this holiday season, here are some strategies you can use to help you hear easier:
1. Move Closer –
Oftentimes, simply moving closer to someone who is speaking can help you greatly to hear all that is being said. For example, if someone is talking to you 10 feet away, perhaps moving five feet closer will greatly increase your ability to hear.
2. Quiet the Room –
Background noise can greatly hinder your ability to hear conversation. If your environment is too noisy, ask for the music and/or TV to be turned down. If many people are talking at once, ask if only one person could talk at a time so you can focus easily.
3. Lighting – Yes, LIGHTING
Make sure you are in a well-lit environment. Being in a dark or dim room makes it difficult to read lips, and seeing facial expressions and body language can add to the speaker’s message.
4. Seating, again – Yes, SEATING
Make sure you sit facing those with whom you want to talk so all of the background noise is behind you. Even sitting with your back toward a wall can help you focus on the conversation happening in front of you.
5. Ask the speaker to “open” – YES, OPEN
It means that the speaker should face you when talking; also, they need to keep their mouth uncovered so you can take advantage of reading their lips and seeing their facial expressions to get all the conversation information possible.
6. “Rephrase, Louder, Slower” –
When you don’t hear or understand what is said, ask the speaker to rephrase what they said or repeat it, talking louder and slower.
7. Call Your Audiologist –
Be proactive and meet with your audiologist prior to any holiday get-togethers to ensure that your hearing technology is functioning properly. Even minor adjustments on the hearing devices can make all the difference!
Most of all, enjoy your holiday season the best you can! Often, it is the only time we connect with the ones we love and miss.