Communication Tips for Better Hearing During the Holidays
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing… and we are instantly reminded of how loud and noisy the festive season can be. We have all experienced the volume of Christmas with shopping centres blasting Christmas carols, family yelling across the dinner table and young grandchildren squealing with excitement over new presents. If you have a hearing loss, you may have noticed that this can be a difficult time to listen and communicate with the people that mean the most to you. If you are one of the 1 in 6 Australians living with hearing loss, you may struggle to hear conversations as your environment becomes noisy during the festive period. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are hearing as well as possible or better despite the additional cacophony during the holidays.
Simple Tips for Better Hearing During the Holidays
Firstly, it is important to be upfront with people about the difficulties you are experiencing. As obvious as it sounds, making people aware of your hearing loss can encourage them to make easy accommodations for you to hear them more easily. When you do not see these family members and friends daily, they can forget that it is not easy for you to hear in noisy situations. It is surprising how simple this tip is, yet many people don’t do this even in the company of close family.
Make Listening a Priority
During family gatherings and social events, it is also important to make listening a priority. This means not nodding along to conversations when you are not sure of what was said. Do not follow the 80/20 rule this Christmas – nodding ‘yes’ 80% of the time and throwing a ‘no’ in 20% of the time. Do not be afraid to ask for repeats and ask for clarification when you are unsure.
Reduce Background Noise
It is also important to reduce as much background noise as you can when you are taking part in festive conversation. For example, if you are hosting a Christmas dinner, you might have Christmas music playing and the TV on for people to watch cricket. Remember to reduce the volume of these sound sources when you are trying to have conversations with friends and family.
Optimize Your Position
Pposition yourself as optimally as possible. Being able to see everyone that you are talking to as visual cues can be a huge help in following a conversation when it is noisy. It can also be very useful to position your conversation in an area that is easier to hear. For example, if you are going out to a restaurant, request a table in a quiet area away from the kitchen, perhaps against a wall so that you don’t struggle as much to hear your company talking. Well-lit venues can also be beneficial in allowing you to see people’s faces when they are talking so that you can follow their facial cues. Cafes and restaurants with soft furnishings can make listening easier as the soft material absorbs unwanted noise and reduces reverberation. This reduces background noise and makes it easier for you to hear conversation.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
Lastly, if you have hearing aids, wear them. Hearing aids are a hearing and wellbeing investment, but they do not provide any benefit to your or anyone else when they are sitting in a drawer. If there is something preventing you from wearing your hearing aids, no matter what the reason, this is the perfect time to head to your ihear audiologist for an adjustment, fine tuning and clean of your hearing aids so that you can hear clearly over the festive period. Make sure you have enough batteries (if you don’t have rechargeable hearing aids) and know how to maintain and clean your hearing aids so that they are working well for the time that your audiologist may be away over Christmas and New Year.
Make The Holidays Brighter with Better Hearing
Remember, even people with normal hearing do not hear everything in noisy social settings. Be realistic with what you should be hearing. Try to implement as many of these tips during this magical time of year to give yourself the best chance of communicating easily with your friends and family. If you are concerned about your hearing, now is the time to book a hearing test at your local ihear clinic. Because life is worth hearing!