The holidays are all about being together with friends, family, and loved ones. We want to do everything we can to make gatherings and parties fun for everyone, and that includes making accommodations when needed. This is about more than making sure that your aunt has her favorite white wine though, some of your guests may have a hearing impairment.
To make the season fun for everyone, our audiologists in Omaha, NE go over some pointers that can help you to host the holidays for your loved ones with hearing loss:
1. Minimize background noise
Background noise makes conversations more difficult for everyone, but especially for people with hearing loss. Minimizing the background noise can help make sure that everyone is able to follow along with conversations and no one has to try to scream over one another. Reducing the background noise can look like turning off or muting the t.v., leaving the music off, and making sure volume settings are on low.
2. Keep everything well-lit
Many people with hearing loss rely on reading lips to fully understand what is being said, so they need the rooms they are in to have good lighting. This means skipping any mood lighting or candlelight meals.
3. Prepare the seating chart accordingly
Audiologists in Omaha, NE recommend that people with hearing loss sit with their backs to a wall if possible. This guarantees no sounds happen behind them and gives them a better view of people to see who is talking. Also, keep in mind when setting the table to keep centerpieces on the shorter side. That way nothing gets in the way of your guests line-of-sight and prohibits them from reading lips.
4. Don’t over-do it
It is easy to become wrapped up in accommodations and over-do it. You may be tempted to shout or yell when talking to someone with hearing loss to help them hear you, but this is the opposite of helpful. You want to speak clearly and project, but don’t yell. Ear specialists in Omaha, NE say the same thing goes for repeating yourself. More than likely, when someone with hearing loss says “what?” they are having trouble deciphering a certain word or phrase – repeating yourself won’t help them. If possible, rephrase what you are trying to say by selecting different words.
5. Set up a quiet space for them
Many people with hearing loss face listening fatigue in social settings. This is because the brain has to work harder to process any auditory information, leading to brain stress and fatigue. They exert more energy into following conversations and listening. Setting up a quiet space for them in another room can give them a chance to decompress and give their brains a break.
6. Ask them what you can do to help
While all of the above steps can help to set you up for a successful holiday gathering, nothing beats asking them what you can do to help. When asking in a discrete and considerate way, you showcase compassion and embody the holiday spirit.
Our audiologists in Omaha, NE specialize in helping people to Hear Now, Stay Active, and Live Better! If one of your loved ones shows signs of hearing loss during the holidays, encourage them to contact us.