If you have hearing loss, the holidays can turn you into a bit of a grinch. Take your hearing aids out and you’ll miss the silly jokes, carols and old family stories. Put your hearing aids in and you worry you’ll be overwhelmed by the noise, noise, noise of clattering dishes and Christmas crackers.
This year’s holiday hearing challenges are even worse, with masks, physical distancing and outdoor gatherings putting extra strain on our ability to hear.
Before you say ‘Bah Humbug!’ consider these tips for a healthy hearing holiday.
1. Hearing aids are smarter than you realize
“Modern hearing aids do more than just amplify all sound,” says Kim Galick, owner of Ears Hearing. “They use sophisticated digital technology to filter out unwanted noise and help you focus on speech. If you have hearing aids, you should wear them!”
Using hearing aids takes practice, so be patient and don’t give up if you encounter some early frustration. If you’re hoping to host a family Zoom call or backyard gathering with your bubble, try your hearing aids ahead of time so you’re used to using them.
2. Set the scene
Just like your Christmas tree needs water and nutrients to stay healthy through the holidays, your hearing will benefit from the proper environment. Turn down the music to better hear dinner conversation, and move that pine bough centrepiece off the table so you can see the gestures and faces of your family around the table.
“If you’re gathering virtually using a video call, ask your friends and family to turn on extra lights or sit facing a bright window — visual cues are a significant part of how we hear,” Galick says.
Don’t forget to test hearing aids before your event, and keep your charger or extra batteries handy.
3. Advocate for yourself
Let friends and family know what they can do to help you hear. If relatives are stopping by for a porch visit, enlist a partner who can repeat or rephrase things you may not have understood.
“Ask for the topic of conversation — a little context can go a long way to help your understanding,” Galick says. “Explain that people should get your attention before speaking to you, and ask that they speak clearly but not too slowly.”
For more hearing tips follow Ears Hearing on Facebook. If you’re experiencing hearing struggles, book a free appointment with Ears Hearing by calling 604-427-2828 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a range of hearing aid options for different lifestyles and hearing needs, and Galick can help you find the solution that’s best for you.