Spending time with your family and friends is arguably the best part of the holidays. Those with hearing impairments can often feel excluded from conversations due to their difficulty hearing their loved ones, even more so during the holiday season. Often times people who are hard of hearing will withdraw from the group due to their frustrations, and possibly even experience symptoms of depression. We do not want this to happen to you! Here are a few ways you can keep those you love included in your celebration. They may seem like common sense, but these few tips can really help those with hearing loss feel no different than anyone else.
- Be attentive: Keep an eye out for family members who may be uncharacteristically quiet at a holiday party. They may be having trouble hearing and need someone to bring them back into the conversation.
- Turn down the volume: Reducing loud background music or noise from the TV, particularly during mealtime, is an easy way to ensure that everyone can participate.
- Keep the room well lit: Good lighting will make it much easier for those with hearing loss to see facial expressions and the mouths of those who are speaking.
- Face each other: If you know someone has hearing loss, be sure to face them when speaking to them. Also, try to get their attention before speaking to them by saying their name or touching their shoulder.
- Rephrase, don’t repeat: If someone asks you what you said, try rephrasing your sentence instead of simply repeating it. This can make it easier for the individual with hearing difficulty because you may be saying a certain word or sound of speech that they have trouble deciphering.
- Stay close: Be conscious of how far away you are from someone with hearing loss before speaking. Move closer to them before communicating from across the room.
- Share the knowledge: Remind your friends and family of these points prior to your gathering!