Ms Doyle won the 2017 'Irish Audiologist of the Year. The competition is organised by leading hearing aid battery manufacturer Rayovac, a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., who this year welcomed a new sponsor, The European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH), on board, joining longstanding partners Audio Infos, and the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA).
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Smart Strategies for Enjoying Christmas with Hearing Loss
Whether your plans include festive gatherings with family and friends, sharing treasured traditions with children and grandchildren, travels home or abroad or all the above, don’t let hearing loss keep you from making the most of this wonderful time of the year. Hearing clearly when there is background noise, such as Christmas music, children playing and glasses and china clinking, can be especially hard when you have hearing loss. A few simple but smart strategies can help you join in the Christmas merriment without the worry of losing track of the conversations or feeling left out or embarrassed.
Wear your hearing aids
This is an obvious strategy for hearing better at family dinners or Christmas parties and is one of the best. Oticon Opn™ hearing aids give you access to all sounds in the environment. Even in noisy situations, with multiple people speaking, you can hear what you want to hear.
In very noisy listening environments where you are at a distance from the speaker, such as at religious Christmas services, you may also want to consider the extra help of a discreet clip-on remote/partner microphone like Oticon ConnectClip. The speaker simply clips on ConnectClip and sound is streamed wirelessly to both of your Oticon Opn hearing aids.
Power up for uninterrupted enjoyment
Before the party starts, insert fresh hearing aid batteries to ensure you won’t miss out on the Christmas fun. Oticon Opn with rechargeable batteries provides power throughout the day. Simply place the hearing aids in the easy-to-use charger overnight. Forget to charge or need extra battery life? You can easily swap out the rechargeable batteries for disposable batteries.
If you are travelling to a holiday destination, pack your hearing aid charger or extra hearing aid batteries in your hand-held luggage. Even if your baggage goes missing, you won’t miss out on the celebrations!
Plan to arrive early
As one of the first guests, you have an opportunity to scope out the room and choose the best spot for you. Stand away from the centre of the room and the source of music. Corners create a good barrier to noise on several sides. Avoid the kitchen and food areas that tend to be crowded and loud. At large parties, position yourself where you can best see the crowd and make eye contact with other guests. You can always find a quiet location and invite one-on-one conversation.
If you are hosting the Christmas gathering, prepare as much of your Christmas feast in advance and enlist guests to minimise last-minute prep. When you’re hovering over the stove with your back to guests, it’s hard to join in the conversation.
Choose the best seat at the table
Don’t miss out on conversation around the dinner table. Pick a seat that lets you see lips and expressions while people are speaking. A spot at the end of the table makes it is easier to focus on and hear the person with whom you are having a conversation. Often the best seat is the one beside a friend or loved one who can help fill you in on parts of the conversation you may miss.
Let other guests know you have a hearing loss. It’s tempting to nod and pretend you hear but people are usually happy to accommodate. Ask them to speak a little louder and clearer and to slow down a bit. Use simple visual cues like placing your hand to your ear to signal to the speaker to speak up or slow down.
Relax and enjoy yourself
Remember that even people without hearing loss may have trouble following conversations in noisy Christmas settings. When you feel fatigue setting in, take short breaks to help you re-energize. Engage in activities you enjoy and don’t be afraid to say no to an activity that seems too stressful.
If you find you are struggling to hear despite careful planning, it may be time to schedule a hearing check-up. Expert hearing care and the right hearing solution can make future holidays a lot merrier for you and your loved ones.
Sound advice for supporting a loved one with hearing loss
Be an advocate for family members with hearing loss. Bring them into the conversation and help them feel they are part of the celebration.
- Get their attention before you speak with a gentle touch or visual cue.
- Make sure they are sitting where they can easily see others.
- Choose a seat next to them and stay attentive so you can help if they’re having difficulty following conversation.
- Speak slowly and clearly but don’t shout. If you need to repeat, try rephrasing instead.
- Be patient and respectful. You’ll build their confidence and make the exchange more enjoyable for all.
Book a Free Hearing Test at Hidden Hearing
Hidden Hearing is Ireland’s leading private provider of hearing care solutions, and our national network includes over eighty branches and clinics. We provide free hearing tests and our experienced team of audiologists will help you to find the best solution for your lifestyle.