Navigating Hearing Loss in the Holidays
The sounds that ring through homes and stores across the nation express for many, a sense of holiday cheer. With songs like “Do You Hear What I Hear” or “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” all the way to “Santa, Can't You Hear Me” bring in the magic of the season. The reality though is not everyone heard, heard well, or will hear. The sounds of the holidays are sweet to many and bring on the spirit of childhood and nostalgia and fond reminiscing. With all this joy and cheer ringing through the air, the beauty we feel we hear actually could make it harder for individuals who are hard of hearing to fully participate in the festivities and magic of the season.
While there are some things that can definitely cause a damper on the holiday spirit for individuals with hearing loss, there are also some things that can be done to help mitigate some of the issues that can arise as the festivities begin. The information to follow includes some recommendations to bring inclusivity.
With some of the holiday festivities, whether it be card games, sitting around the fireplace singing Christmas carols, making holiday cookies, or watching a holiday favorite on the television, accommodation can create a new element of connection and relationship building.
While it may be impossible to completely eliminate background noise, there are things that can be done to foster a cleaner listening environment for you and your guests. If you take a look around your environment, there are several things around you that create noise, some of it is passive, and others are more active. Some appliances and other things such as radio and television can cause extra unnecessary background noise. With a less polluted listening environment, there is a better chance of more effective communication.
Visual Barriers and Aids
When you are planning your holiday party, think about ways that can induce a better environment for hearing impaired individuals. Make sure that the area is well lit, arrange the furniture or seating in such a way to be round, and think about the decorations such as center pieces and how they can cause a disturbance in communication.
Watching holiday movies is one of our favorite things to do at our house. Getting some hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, and other goodies and snuggling up to enjoy a movie is a great way to enjoy a cold holiday night. A simple way of including people with hearing loss is turning on the closed captions or subtitles. If you go to the movie theater, ask for caption glasses or other captioning devices that are available. Most theaters have some type of device for those who are hearing impaired.
Of course, another great tool for individuals with hearing loss is hearing aids. Much of today's hearing aid technology includes special features such as programs that help address the background noise, creating focused listening, or using a device to connect and use as a wireless microphone. For many over the counter hearing aids may be a good option, if you know someone you love has a mild to moderate hearing loss, you may consider the gift of better hearing this holiday season with some of LINNER’s products.
The Magic Of the Season Doesn’t Have To Be Heard, But Should Always Be Felt
The holidays can be difficult for individuals with hearing loss, but these and other simple accommodations can change the dynamic and help more people have a very merry time. If you are the individual who is hard of hearing, self-advocating is a necessity. Most individuals who do not have hearing loss do not understand the struggles and can not comprehend the struggles you go through, and though it may seem a thing of annoyance, the best way of marking sure people know what your communication needs are is to express that. When we work together to bridge a barrier, we show love for each other, such love can be felt, which really is the magic of the season.
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