Communicating During the Holidays
It’s the holidays, and many of your family members have driven in to see you. You find yourself sitting at the kitchen table, trying to have a conversation with your son about his new job as an accountant. From the kitchen come the delicious smells of baking, but also the sound of a mixer whirring and dishes being washed. In the background, someone has Christmas carols playing. The grandkids are gathered around the TV watching Frosty the Snowman, and a group has a rousing game of cards going in another corner.
It would all be so wonderful, if only you could hear what your son was saying.
There are so many things to love about the sights, smells, and sounds of the holidays. But those sounds of the holidays that we love can also be very loud. For people who have hearing loss or wear hearing aids, the sounds of the holidays can be overwhelming.
Hearing aids help people gain back the hearing they have lost. Today’s hearing aids are smaller, more accurate, and easier to use than ever before. But, when many sounds come at the ears all at once, it can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we want to share some tips on how to get the most out of your hearing aids during the noisy holiday season.
Get a Tune Up
Hearing aids are like a very small machine. Just like you would care for your car, your computer, or your lawn mower, they require regular maintenance to keep them working for you. For all of our patients, we offer free cleanings for the life of the hearing aid as part of our Advantage Care Plan. These cleanings help keep the hearing aid free of ear wax, dust, and dirt that can hinder its performance. Regular check-ups also allow us to spot any problems with the hearing instrument and fix them quickly to keep it running smoothly for you.
Have Plenty of Batteries
Our Advantage Care Plan also offers free batteries. We offer a certain number of batteries for each month, depending on the type of hearing aid our patients wear (each instrument has different usage amount that will determine how frequently the wearer needs new batteries). We also offer them for sale to our patients who want to stock up for special occasion (such as an extended trip or the holiday season).
Keep Background Noise Low
While you can’t actually control the noise around you, you can control your proximity to it. When you attend a party or event, try to position yourself in places with less noise. This may mean you seek out smaller, more intimate groups, or that you try to focus your time with people one on one. You’ll also want to avoid standing close to any areas where music is playing as well.
Maintain Eye Contact
Consistent eye contact makes it easier to hear what someone is saying because you are focused on their facial expressions, mouth, and words. Even if you miss a few words that are said, your awareness of the other person’s facial expressions and gestures will help you follow the flow of conversation.
A careful enunciation of words can help make it easier to hear the person you’re speaking to, and it can help you get your own point across more clearly. This does not mean you need to over-exaggerate or speak more loudly, just that you want to be aware of how clearly you are speaking your words. Your careful speech will also serve to help those around you speak more clearly and carefully, which makes it easier for everyone to hear.
Sit Away from the Kitchen
The kitchen can be one of the loudest room in the home for the holidays. It’s where all the cooking and baking occurs, and people often tend to gather away from here. During a meal, the kitchen can still be a loud place as people are going in and out to get bring in items, finish desserts, etc.
Be Patient with Yourself and Others
The most important thing to remember this time of year is to be patient with yourself and those around you. The holidays are such a joyful, festive time. Don’t let yourself be frustrated or withdrawn. Instead, approach the season with a good humor and patience to enjoy your time with loved ones. Don’t be afraid to say, “I didn’t hear that” or “Could you repeat that?”.
Following these tips can go a long way in helping you to hear every meaningful conversation you want to have this Christmas. Make sure that you don’t miss out by visiting us. We can get your hearing aids in great shape for the holidays. If you think you might have hearing loss, we can assess the condition of your hearing and help you decide on a hearing instrument that fits your lifestyle and budget.
If you don’t wear hearing aids, there is a very good chance that you will spend time with someone this season who does. Keeping the people you love who wear hearing aids as part of the holiday celebration is one of the most meaningful things you can do this season. Want to learn more ways you can communicate intentionally with someone who wears a hearing aid? Check out our blog post on intentional communication.