It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time when we gather with loved ones to share good food, gifts and each other’s company. But all the hustle and bustle of the season can be stressful for people who experience hearing loss.
Hearing loss is very common, especially in older adults. It typically occurs gradually and affects approximately one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75. While most hearing loss can’t be reversed, you can improve your hearing with the help of hearing aids.
So how do you know if you are experiencing hearing loss? Signs include:
- Muffled speech and other sounds
- Difficulty hearing words, especially in noisy environments
- Trouble understanding consonants
- Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and/or loudly
- Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
- Not being able to hear high-pitched sounds
- Withdrawing from conversations
- Avoiding social settings
These things can make the holidays frustrating or uncomfortable if you are struggling to hear a joke or follow the conversation. Here are some easy tips to help you navigate noisy environments during the holidays.
- Talk to the host ahead of time. Whether you’re celebrating with co-workers or friends and family, it’s important to communicate with your host to let them know that a noisy environment might become cumbersome. Many people will be happy to accommodate you once you explain the situation. For example, you can ask if the holiday music or TV can be turned off during dinner so you can better hear the conversation.
- Choose your seat at the table strategically. Try to position yourself in a spot where your “best side,” is facing the action. This way you’ll be able to hear the conversations of the people around you. Or choose a spot in the middle of the table where you can see everyone and lipread. It’s also helpful to sit away from the kitchen and with your back to the wall to help filter out background noise.
- Pick a dinner buddy. Seat yourself next to someone you’ll have the least difficulty hearing or someone who will clue you in on parts of the conversation you may have missed.
- Start the conversation. It is easier to follow a conversation if you know what the topic is.
- Talk in a one-on-one environment. Move to another part of the house that is quieter or invite someone to take a walk with you after dinner.
- Don’t fake it. Don’t be shy about asking someone to repeat what they said. It can be tempting to just nod along and pretend you heard what was said, but it will feel less awkward in the long run and you won’t feel left out if you’re honest about your hearing loss.
The best way to prepare for the holidays is to have your hearing tested. Call our compassionate team of experts at Sierra Nevada Hearing Aid Center at 775.882.3277 to make an appointment today.