People with hearing loss are certainly aware of it. People without hearing loss may not be able to fully understand it.
The “it” is that there is a definite emotional effect or cost to hearing loss. Even with hearing aids, not being able to truly feel a part of things that our friends and family without hearing loss take for granted can leave us feeling isolated, sad or even depressed. These feelings can hit those with hearing loss particularly hard during the holidays.
Sometimes, hearing “Never mind, I’ll tell you later” after we ask for clarification – perhaps repeatedly – feels like the most isolating thing someone could say to us.
Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Arizona offers the following suggestions for those dealing with this aspect of hearing loss around the holidays – or helping your loved one with hearing loss better deal with it.
- Use interests to connect with people: Hearing loss can feel like a big obstacle to connecting with new people in life. If you can develop relationships and make connections based on your hobbies and interests, your hearing loss won’t seem to matter as much.
- Arrive early: Meeting new people at a party or going to a new group? Arrive early to talk with the group leader – particularly if you will not have a companion or interpreter with you.
- Use technology: Try using “App My Ear” on your smartphone to transcribe speech into text or the Phonak Roger Pen to serve as a microphone and improve your ability to read lips. These tools can be useful to supplement your hearing aids and provide a better listening experience.
- Raise your hand: In small group settings, ask people to raise their hand before speaking so you know who’s speaking.
- Sit up front: If you’re at a speaking engagement, sit up front or as close as possible to see the speaker. At holiday gatherings, try to be near the center of the action so you can see faces more clearly and pick up more of the dialogue.
- Simple summaries: After a conversation or group of thoughts are expressed, offer your summary of what you understood. Ask for clarification on thoughts you didn’t quite get.