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Wow! It’s already December, and we’ve got a month full of holidays. The holidays are always a great time to gather with your family, friends, and loved ones to relax and catch up on the big year we’ve just had.
For most of us, a huge gathering could be overwhelming. For those with hearing loss, holiday socializing can be quite challenging. Whether you are hosting a family member who uses hearing aids, of if you wear aids and plan on attending a few parties, we’ve got some useful tips for navigating the holidays with hearing aids.
If You’re Hosting a Holiday Party
Consider a Circular Set-Up
For your guests who use hearing aids, a circular set-up is conducive to conversation. With a circular table, or a bunch of tables set up in a U or circle shape, your guests will find it easier to read facial expressions and lips, and also to hear everyone. This helps your hearing-impaired guests stay up to speed in conversation.
Turn Down the Tunes
Holiday music certainly adds festivity to a party, and it wouldn’t be fun without your favorite tunes. However, keep in mind that music adds another level of noise to the room, especially when it is filled with guests. For those with hearing aids, trying to hear speakers’ voices over the sound of loud music might prove difficult. We recommend that you play your holiday favorites at a lower volume, and turn the music speakers away from the common areas.
Set Up Alternate Gathering Spaces
When you’ve got a lot of people in one room, with many conversations going on, the noise level will definitely rise. To accommodate people with hearing aids, consider setting up smaller gathering spaces, such as different arrangements with a few chairs or little nooks in various areas of the house where people may have quieter, one-on-one or small group conversations. Big group conversations may be overwhelming, so providing alternate spaces could give your hearing-impaired guests some relief from the background noise.
Disposable Plates & Utensils
They may not be great for the environment, but if you’re having a smaller gathering, consider using disposable plates and utensils. This helps cut down the noise factor of clanking metal utensils against china during dinner, which could make conversation easier for your guests. It also helps with cleanup!
After-Dinner Entertainment Ideas
If you plan on a holiday movie after dinner, ask your guests with hearing aids if they have wireless capabilities to link up to your home entertainment systems. Some hearing aids are able to stream audio directly to hearing aids, which provides a seamless listening experience. Board games are also always fun after holiday dinner. Games such as Apples to Apples or Scrabble are great for those who use hearing aids.
If You’re Attending a Holiday Party
Tell Your Host
If you’re attending a holiday party this season, don’t hesitate to let your host know about your hearing needs. Your host will want everyone to enjoy themselves at their holiday party, and will be happy to accommodate.
Find a Quiet Space to Catch Up
As you know, many conversations with multiple speakers in one room can be extremely overwhelming for you, even with your hearing aids. Hearing aids are designed to focus on speech and sounds you want to hear, but in a big room with many people, the background noise might be overwhelming. Find a quiet alcove or spot in the house, away from the noise, to catch up with people. One-on-one or small group conversations may be easier for you to navigate.
Pick a Dinner Buddy
Before dinner, decide on a person to be your dinner buddy. Pick someone who’s speech is easy for you to follow, and with whom you feel comfortable with your hearing needs. This person could fill you in on parts of conversation you’ve missed and help to keep you in the loop. If there’s a seating chart, let your host know beforehand your preferences.
Position Your “Best” Side
Hearing loss has many different configurations. For some people, this means that one ear hears better than the other. When you’re in conversation or sitting around a table, position yourself so that your best side is directed toward the noise. Also, when considering positioning, try to have conversations in well-lit areas so that you may be able to read facial expressions and lips if necessary.
From all of us at Advanced Tech Hearing, we wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy holiday.
Advanced Tech Hearing Aid Centers
This holiday season, give yourself the gift of better hearing. Don't spend one more season struggling to hear your loved ones. Reach out to us today.