For most people in the U.S., the beginning of November marks the holiday season, where the weather is chill and the days are shorter. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, the New Year or any other holidays, this two-month period is a time to eat rich foods, take part in traditions and gather with family and friends.
However, during the holidays, people with untreated hearing loss miss out on a lot of the most wonderful holiday sounds, including:
- The joyful laughter and excitement of your grandkids as they open their holiday gifts.
- Hearing the excited announcers during Thanksgiving day football games and New Year's Day bowl games.
- The punch line of the joke that your brother just told as the family sips spiked eggnog and hot cider at the kitchen table.
- Listening to your favorite Christmas carols. There's nothing quite like listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan's version of "Baby It's Cold Outside," or Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."
- The reminiscing of holidays past with other family members, and being able to contribute your own story.
- Holiday banter over the dinner table.
- The New Year's Eve countdown, shouted in unison by excited friends and family members.
- Updates from your favorite cousin growing up who you don't see often enough.
If you've been considering getting your hearing checked and possibly getting fitted for hearing aids, now is the time to do it before the holidays are in full-swing. It takes a bit of time and a few visits to and adjustments at the audiologist's office to have your new hearing aids working to their fullest potential for you. But, you'll be thankful you didn't go one more holidays season without hearing assistance, and you'll be so delighted by the holiday sounds you forgot you were missing out on, that you'll never look back.
Tips for better holiday listening
With hearing aids or without, if you have hearing loss, there are many things that you can do to make sure you can communicate successfully and more easily during gatherings with your family and friends. If you're used to a quiet home where getting by with your hearing loss isn't too difficult, you might be surprised by the difficulty you will have when there are 20 people in one room with music playing in the background. Here are some tips to survive and thrive in these situations and use your remaining hearing to its fullest potential:
- Choose the best seat at the dinner table. If you have a side that you hear better on, make sure to sit so you can hear with that ear. Make sure the TV and music are off - it will be difficult enough for you to hear over several conversations. Sit by someone who you usually have an easy time of lipreading, and sit by someone who knows about your hearing loss and doesn't mind filling you in if you miss an important conversation or punch line of a joke.
- If there's someone you haven't talked to in a long time, make sure to pull him or her aside to a more private space so you can converse one-on-one and have an easier time hearing.
- If you wear hearing aids or another type of assistive listening device, make sure to change the batteries and get a "tune up" at your audiologist before the holiday season so you're prepared.
- Give yourself a hearing break! Head to a quiet spot, like a bedroom or the bathroom, and let your ears enjoy five minutes of quiet time.