As the weather gets colder, we have the holidays to look forward to: delicious dinners, reconnecting with family, and enjoying some good old-fashioned parties. However, if you have hearing loss, this might be an especially stressful time. Fear not! If you have hearing loss, or know a loved one with hearing loss, there are ways to improve communication during the holidays.
KNOW what influences communication:
- The Environment- Don’t forget to ask yourself,” is there anything I can do to make this a better place for hearing?” In the car, you can turn down the radio, or turn to face the talker (if you are not driving). Likewise, at the dinner table, you can politely request that centerpieces be moved, to sit in a chair at the table that allows you to hear the best, and make sure the lighting is not too dim (we use our vision to communicate more than you’d think!)
- The Talker- Do they have an accent? How about facial hair? A soft voice? All these things can make hearing more difficult. Politely tell others how best to talk to you and give them feedback about how well they are conveying the information. Admit when you cannot understand what someone is saying.
- The Listener- Your attention, level of fatigue and interest in the conversation all play a large part in how well communication works. The better you can concentrate, maintain a sense of humor, stay positive, and relax, the better the conversation can flow.
A hearing aid, along with good communication strategies, will help you have a successful and happy holiday season!