“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on, but for those of us with hearing loss, this can be an extremely stressful time of year. Of course, having a hearing loss can be challenging at any time of the year, but Christmas gatherings, parties and get togethers can be a particularly frustrating and uncomfortable time. Struggling to hear the punch line of a joke or following a conversation at the table as a result of background noise is sure way to kill your Christmas spirit. In addition to this, with the presence of COVID-19 again this year, video calls are sure to be a popular way to interact with family over the festive season. But even these can be trying due to poor sound quality and lack of body language signals. So, the purpose of this blog is to give you some tips and advice to help you navigate Christmas. Even if one of these tips helps make your Christmas that little bit easier, it will be worth it!
SPEAK-UP IN ADVANCE
Our first tip before attending any event this Christmas is to speak-up in advance. If attending a house party, the majority of hosts will be only too happy to accommodate your needs if you discuss your challenges with them in advance. It might mean turning down the volume of Michael Buble’s Christmas album in the background, or moving the kids table to a separate room, but no matter what it is, voicing your concerns in advance will help you enjoy your evening more. Alternatively, if meeting a group of friends out at a bar or restaurant, speaking to the manager in advance about table positioning or music volume is also a good option to help you make the most out of your night out.
If it’s a sit-down dinner you’re attending or going to be at a table at a bar, try your best to be there early in order to be strategic about where exactly you are sitting. In an ideal world, you should be looking to sit at a seat in the middle of the table so you can see everyone easily, and not too far away from anyone. Secondly, if possible, try to sit away from any loud distraction such as the kitchen or a speaker. Finally, if possible, sitting with your back to the wall can help remove some background noise. Then once you’ve found your perfect seat, claim it! Put a jacket or bag on the chair, so everyone knows it’s taken.
CONSIDER HEARING AID ACCESSORIES
Hearing aid accessories that assist your hearing in loud environments can be extremely useful during the busy Christmas period. At Audiology Medical Services, we offer a number of assistive hearing devices from a range of manufacturers that are both discreet and convenient - ultimately improving your confidence and ability to complete everyday tasks seamlessly. From wireless microphones to Bluetooth enabled accessories, we provide the best possible solutions to suit your needs and help make your Christmas get togethers more enjoyable.
GO FOR THE COUCH
During a Christmas party at a house, we recommend making a beeline for the couch in the sitting room. Kitchens tend to be overcrowded and loud, being the hub of the action at a party. Whereas inviting someone to sit with you in the sitting room will give a far superior acoustic environment for you to have a proper conversation, with the couch even providing that little acoustic baffle that makes all the difference.
TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE
We all love being nestled by a cosy fire at Christmas, but it can always be a good idea to get outside when things are getting a little too noisy. Invite a friend or relative outside for a stroll and conversation in the fresh December air. Exterior noise levels will be much lower and you can enjoy the quiet one-to-one conversation with them, while giving your ears a little break from the background noise. Just make sure to wrap up well if it’s cold!
As we mentioned earlier, virtual get togethers, like last Christmas, will more than likely be popular again this year due to COVID-19. But did you know that Google Meet and Zoom both offer a captioning feature in real-time? Make sure to enable this feature or get your host to enable it when on any video call over the Christmas period, or anytime.
It may be tempting at times to just nod along pretending you are hearing everything okay, but don’t! We guarantee you will feel much less awkward and have far more meaning interactions over the Christmas period if you are just 100% honest about your hearing loss.
AUDIOLOGY MEDICAL SERVICES
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one’s hearing, we are here to help you through this challenging process and help limit the impact it makes on your life. To make an appointment to talk to one of Audiology Medical Services’ clinically trained professional audiologists, available at clinics nationwide, freephone 1800 501 501.