Are you planning a holiday celebration with family members that have hearing loss? Our doctors have a few key elements to help create a successful gathering for your hearing-impaired relatives – all it takes is a little advanced planning! Signs of hearing loss can include:
- Keeping the volume up louder than normal on the television and/or radio.
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
- Having trouble understanding women and children when they speak.
- Having difficulty hearing in noisy environments, such as restaurants and shopping malls.
- Contributing inappropriately to the conversation or answering questions incorrectly.
Once you recognize a family member is having difficulty, create an environment that allows for inclusion. For example:
- Make sure your hearing-impaired family member is paying attention to you before you begin to speak.
- Speak face-to-face at a regular tone and even pace.
- Keep your hands away from your face and don’t talk while you’re eating or chewing gum. Some hearing-impaired individuals rely on lip reading to follow the conversation.
- If you are asked to repeat yourself several times, try to rephrase your comments. Some sounds may be easier to understand than others.
- If you’re dining out during the holidays, try to choose a quiet restaurant with good acoustics.
- If you’re eating at home, consider using paper plates and plastic eating utensils instead of china and flatware to cut down on the amount of background noise while the family is gathered at the table.
While it might be tempting to call attention to loss of hearing while you’re all together, a holiday gathering isn’t the time to stage an intervention. Opt to keep the mood light and all members of the family engaged in the conversation as much as possible. When the time is right, suggest your loved one have a hearing evaluation and become educated about the latest hearing instrument technology.
Information taken from Healthy Hearing Website.