Hearing loss and holiday gatherings

December 16, 2013 Stacey D. Watson, MS, CCC-A


Holidays are known for gathering with friends and family to celebrate the season and the passing of another year.  For those with hearing loss, these gatherings can be more stressful than enjoyable. Small groups of people around the room all talking at once about how best to serve the cranberries or the beautiful lights that are decorating homes in the neighborhood can be difficult to hear even with a mild hearing loss.  Working to understand what is being said takes a lot of energy and focus and can result in the feeling of isolation, tiredness and depression.

There are things you can do to help improve your communication during these otherwise festive times.  No matter your hearing abilities, good communication strategies are always helpful when you are talking to others while cooking in a busy kitchen, gathered around the warm fireplace or sitting across the dinner table.  The Better Hearing Institute has some great suggestions to share with your loved ones.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may benefit from the use of hearing aids or even a cochlear implant.  Many people think that hearing aids are only for the elderly and cochlear implants are only for young children.  This is not the case.  Your hearing loss and speech understanding abilities determines what technology is right for you with no regard to your age.  [Finally!  Something doesn’t care how old I am!!] There are different types, styles and levels of technology that are prescribed for your specific hearing loss.  Hearing aids do work quite well for most hearing losses, from the mild to severe. 

Here are some helpful ideas to think about to determine if your hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids.  Hearing aids come in many, many different sizes and colors to suit your personality.  When your hearing loss is quite severe or even profound and your hearing aids seem to provide distorted sound quality, you still have options to help keep you connected to the world around you. That is when a cochlear implant evaluation is in order.  A cochlear implant can bypass the damaged portion of your hearing system and stimulate the hearing nerve directly.  While the sound from an implant cannot replace normal hearing it can offer you access to both soft and loud sounds - be that your story telling Uncle or a grandbaby crying down the hall.

If you experience difficulty hearing your friends and loved ones this holiday season, it is time to see an audiologist and talk about resources available to you.  We want you to be able to hear the celebratory toasts and not just hold your glass up because everyone else is doing it and you’re not sure why.


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