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Using hearing aids to your advantage during the holidays

Hearing aids are amazing devices that exist in a very technologically advanced state today due to more than 50 years of research and innovation. If you own a pair of these little boxes of impressive technology, it's wise to do your best to take advantage of the varied things they can do. The holidays - which are surrounded with frenetic and loud celebrations and events - are the perfect time to learn to take advantage of everything your hearing aids have to offer. Here are some tips to make the most of them in various listening situations and environments:

dining out with hearing aids

Before the holidays

First, before the holidays begin, head to your audiologist or hearing professional for a tune-up. He or she can clean your microphones and test your noise reduction software to make sure it is working properly in preparation for shopping at a noisy mall or dining at a busy restaurant during the holiday season. If you will be traveling, make sure to have extra tubing and spare batteries with you.

While dining out

If your hearing aids have more than one listening program, you should consider switching between them when dining out. Some hearing aid models offer a listening program that is better at canceling out background noise and helping you hear someone just across the table from you with their noise-canceling microphones. Some hearing aids have directional microphones, which can be effective in choosing what sounds you hear.

However, these programs don't work for everyone. To maximize your hearing while dining out, consider eating earlier in the night. On weekend nights, peak dining hours are between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. Consider making an earlier reservation - such as 5 p.m. - to ensure that the restaurant is less noisy than it will be at its peak hours. Or, plan a dinner out during the weeknight, when restaurants are much less busy.

While watching a play, ballet or musical

If you plan to see favorites like "The Nutcracker" or "A Christmas Carol" during the holiday season, make sure to call the theater or venue in advance and let them know about your hearing impairment. Ask if the venue has a looped system or what accommodations they have for someone with hearing loss who wears hearing aids. If you have a hearing aid with a t-coil switch, you can turn it on for better hearing during a show or play in a venue that has an FM system.

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