Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? (Tips for better hearing at the holidays)

December 19, 2012 Kristiina Huckabay, AuD, FAAA


The holidays are a busy time! Some love the hustle and bustle of the holidays and others can be worn down with to-do lists, shopping, planning and parties. Individuals with hearing loss can be especially impacted by the holidays if they are attending parties and group gatherings. They may be listening to unfamiliar voices and meeting people for the first time. Here are a few tips to support your family member through this busy time of the year.

Friends and family members can support someone with hearing loss in the following ways:

  • When attending group settings or restaurants, try to find a quiet area.
  • If you notice someone is not tuning into the conversation, try to repeat, rephrase or state the topic.
  • At times your family member may just need a listening break. Excuse yourselves and find a quite space to visit alone for a few minutes. Or better yet, participate in “people watching” and really give those ears a break!
  • Help with introductions by saying “you remember Bob, we met him last year at the holiday party.”
  • A little understanding can go a long way. If you are curious what your family member might be experiencing, listen to the hearing loss simulator and choose “speech in a restaurant”. I can guarantee you will be shocked to experience the impact of hearing loss on speech understanding. Imagine working that hard to understand speech for a few hours at the end of the day in a loud setting.

For individuals with hearing loss:

  • Try and find a location away from the majority of the background noise. For instance, if you are at a restaurant, put your back towards the noise. If you wear hearing aids with directional microphone technology, this is great time to utilize that program.
  • Remember that even individuals with normal hearing may struggle in these environments. Don’t be surprised if you’re not the only one experiencing difficulty.
  • Speak up and don’t bluff!

Finally, take time for yourself during the holidays. Even with our focus on better hearing, even audiologists know that a little quiet time can go a long way!

Enjoy this time with your friends and family! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Other hearing tips and resources:


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