Are you worried hearing loss will undermine your holiday plans?
As we approach the time of jingle bells and festive carols, we want to make sure you’re ready to enjoy - and hear - everything this season has to offer.
Your next event isn’t destined to be a Silent Night.
Here are some tips to ensure you can be fully present and enjoy your festive holiday events.
Make a hearing plan
We already spend so much time planning this time of year down to the detail - the food, the itinerary, the outfit, the gifts, the décor. We all want to look our best. Why not consider how you can hear your best too?
That’s where making a hearing plan can help.
Considerations for your hearing plan:
- Talk to your host before the event, especially if you’re not familiar with the venue.
- Find out what the room is like – windows, walls, floor coverings and ceiling height all affect how sound travels.
- Reserve your seat in advance if possible.
- Give yourself a break - short, quiet “time outs” throughout the event can help you regroup and reset your energy level.
If you already have concerns you won’t be able to hear well at your next event, then it’s time to speak with an Audiologist to find out why.
We can help you look forward to social situations again.
How to hear better at the venue
Arriving at your event
The halls are decked, and you’re ready to get jolly. It’s now time to execute your plan. This is where your advance preparations can really pay off.
If you didn’t have time to plan in advance, or if you find yourself at a spontaneous event, don’t worry, you still have options.
If you haven’t done so already, let the host know about your hearing needs. This will give them the opportunity to accommodate, which any good host will want to do.
If you'll be sitting down to eat
Claim a quiet place at the table with your back to a wall - this will help buffer ambient noise.
Sit closest to the people you want to speak with.
Make sure your spot is away from the music, and preferably lit well, to help you see faces and interpret non-verbal cues.
If possible, stay away from noisy kitchens or other competing background noise.
If you're standing
- Choose your position in the room.
- Find lighted areas so you can see people’s faces and expressions.
- Position yourself away from overhead speakers or other sources of background music.
- If people are wearing masks, watch this video for tips on how to communicate with masks (including using mask mode on your hearing aids).
It's okay to manage your environment
There can be a lot of mixing and mingling at a holiday gathering. If your hearing is getting lost in the shuffle, don’t be shy about proactively managing your environment in a respectful way.
- Turning down background music or sound (such as a TV).
- Breaking off from the larger crowd to sit with a smaller group.
- Choosing your seat strategically in a quiet, well-lit spot.
- Standing away from the kitchen or noisy rooms.
- Using an accessory such as a remote microphone. Most microphones work at a distance of up to 10 metres.
Communicate your hearing needs
Why leave your friends and family to guess how they can help you? Unless they also experience hearing loss, chances are good they’re uncertain how they can accommodate.
If you feel comfortable, let your party know there are steps they can take to improve communication with you, and feel free to recruit the host to help set the tone.
Ask your loved ones to support clear conversation by trying the following:
- Get your attention by using your name or gesturing.
- Make eye contact.
- Rephrase rather than repeat.
- Speak slowly, clearly, and naturally.
- Resist the urge to speak louder or exaggerate mouth movements - doing so can actually distort speech sounds.
- Keep their mouths uncovered, as this will help with visual cues.
- Avoid speaking while eating or drinking.
Click here for more about the A-B-Cs of good communication.
Wear your hearing aids
Hearing aids are such important conversation helpers, as they fill in sounds you are currently missing.
Additionally, hearing aids will help you:
- Understand speech more clearly.
- Follow conversations, especially if more than one person is talking.
- Enjoy listening more - to conversations and music.
- Sustain your energy, as conversations will take less concentration to hear.
- Hear women’s and children’s voices better.
Remember to charge your hearing aids fully before you leave the house (if they’re rechargeable), and/or carry extra batteries to your event.
Try new hearing aids before your event
As wonderful as hearing aids are for improving your sound reception and quality of life, it’s actually not a great idea to inaugurate your new hearing aids at a special event.
This is because your brain will need to reintegrate all of the sounds you’ve been missing. If you go into a dinner party - or any other busy event - with new hearing aids, you risk getting overwhelmed as your hearing pathways re-orient to too much at once.
We always recommend you introduce hearing aids gradually, and take your time.
Start out at home, where you have more control over your environment, and eventually work your way up to incorporating more and louder sounds back into your world before you wear your hearing aids to your next holiday shindig.
Get your hearing ready today
The best time to prepare for the holiday social season is right now.
If you’re ready to make sure you can hear the Silver Bells and the crackle of Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, schedule a Hearing Evaluation. Our Audiologists will make a holiday hearing plan that meets your needs.
To schedule an appointment call: Broadmead Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2969 or Oak Bay Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2921. Or request an appointment online.