As the holiday seasons approaches, it is estimated that nearly half of American’s will be hitting the road for travel*. Families will gather, meals will be shared, and conversations will abound. If you are entering the holiday season with hearing loss, here are seven helpful strategies to keep in mind to ensure you can fully participate in and enjoy this year’s holiday activities.
- Visualization — Everyone lip-reads to some degree. But those with hearing loss tend to rely on this more to help determine what word or sound may have been missed while speaking. Ensuring that you have good visualization of the person that you are conversing with gives you a better chance at taking advantage of lip-reading cues.
- Context Clues — It is important to pay attention to the theme and tone of the conversation to fill in what was missed using context clues. When you know what is being discussed, filling in the blanks can be easier versus when you do not.
- Clarification — If you miss part of the conversation, rather than asking a general “huh?” or “what?” try to be more specific about what you missed from the conversation. This will help both you and your communication partner maintain the flow of the conversation and minimize frustrations with repetition. For example, “I’m sorry I missed the bit about Saturday plans” lets who you are speaking with know exactly what portion to repeat.
- Environment — Reducing the background noise level as much as possible can help aid in communication. Sitting away from kitchen noise, turning down the television, or arranging meals and meetings in quieter venues will help you better hear your communication partner.
- Accessories — Remote microphones like Starkey’s Remote Mic +, Mini Mic and Table Mic are fabulous tools to aid in communication. You can clip it to the person you are communicating with or place it in the middle of the table for a group conversation. These accessories stream the conversation directly to your hearing aids, improve the sound quality, and can improve communication.
- Packing — Pack all hearing aid supplies (batteries, charging stations, accessories etc.) in your carry-on luggage and keep them on the plane with you if you are having to fly this holiday season. Lithium-ion batteries cannot be in checked luggage! Wear your hearing aids through TSA (you shouldn’t have to take them off) and put assistive devices through x-ray screening.
- Lodging — Designate a specific area for your hearing aid supplies/accessories when you get to your travel destination. Don’t forget your cleaning tools (cloth, brush, wax guards, etc.) so that you can keep your aids in good working order. Follow your normal daily upkeep even when traveling to ensure that your aids stay well maintained.
Here’s to a warm, safe and very merry holiday season!
How to find a hearing care professional near you
For more communication strategies, reach out to your hearing care provider. If you don’t have a hearing care provider, we can help you find one in your area. Simply type your zip code in here and you’ll generate a list of experienced and authorized hearing care professionals near you.
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