Using hearing aids to your advantage during the holidays
Preparation is key to enjoying the holiday season, especially if you wear hearing aids. These amazing technologically advanced devices are the result of more than 50 years of research and innovation — and the holidays, with their frenetic, loud celebrations and events, are the perfect time to learn to take advantage of everything they have to offer. Here are some tips to make the most of them as you enjoy the various listening situations of the season:
Before the holidays
You still have time to visit your hearing healthcare professional for a quick tune up before the festivities begin. While you’re there, be sure to ask about:
- Maintenance. This is a great time of year to make sure your microphones are clean and your noise reduction software is working properly. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have extra tubing and spare batteries, especially if you’ll be traveling.
- Listening environments: Talk to your hearing healthcare professional about the types of listening environments you’ll be experiencing during the holiday season. Planning to attend a few family functions? Ask if your hearing device has a listening program that is designed to cancel background noise so you can hear what the person across the table is saying. Do you ski or enjoy other winter sports? Make sure you have the proper gear and accessories to protect against wind and moisture as well as the proper gear to make sure your hearing aids stay in place.
During holiday parties
If your hearing loss prevents you from hearing well when you’re in a noisy situation, be prepared when you attend the office party or a friend’s holiday party.
- Know your hearing device’s capabilities. If you’ve already discussed holiday listening environments with your hearing healthcare professional, you know whether your devices have a listening program designed to cancel background noise and help you hear the conversation — as well as how to use it.
- Even if your hearing devices have a listening program, it wouldn’t hurt to let the holiday hostess know you have hearing loss. Ask to be seated away from the kitchen or television room and where you can see everyone’s face, especially if you’re a lip reader.
- If your plans call for dining at a restaurant or two this month, consider eating earlier to avoid peak dining hours between 6 and 8 p.m. Or, plan to dine on a weeknight, when restaurants are much less busy.
During holiday performances
What would the holidays be without a production or two of seasonal favorites like "The Nutcracker" or "A Christmas Carol?" Whether the production is Broadway quality or performed by your favorite little Scrooge, be prepared to hear your best.
- Check the venue’s website to see if they have a looped system or other assistive listening device. If they do, note how to request the service and arrive in plenty of time to acquire one as some facilities have a limited supply.
- If the production is being presented in a local gymnasium or other facility without assistive listening services, call well in advance to ask if you can reserve seating near the front of the audience.
- Carry a fresh set of batteries with you just in case. Much like carrying an umbrella while the sun is shining, it never hurts to be prepared.