Holiday family gatherings are a time when it can become evident that someone has trouble hearing. A family member with untreated haring loss may feel forced to choose between not understanding conversations or not participating in celebrations at all. Family members may notice typical signs of hearing loss such as:
- Needing the television volume loud.
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
- Difficulty understanding women’s and children’s voices.
- Difficulty hearing in noisy environments, such as restaurants.
- Contributing inappropriately to conversations or answering questions incorrectly.
If a person has difficulty hearing, you can help lessen their stress by creating environments that foster their inclusion. For example:
- Make sure they are paying attention to you before you speak.
- Speak face-to-face at a regular tone and even pace.
- Don’t cover you face while talking if they rely on lip reading to follow conversations.
- If you are asked to repeat yourself, try rephrasing you comments.
- If dining out during the holidays, choose a quiet restaurant with good acoustics.
- If eating at home, consider using paper plates and plastic eating utensils (instead of china and flatware) to reduce background noise while dining.
As a New Year begins, you can encourage family members who need hearing help to schedule a diagnostic hearing evaluation by a Doctor of Audiology. Treating their hearing difficulties will make their life brighter – and future family gatherings more enjoyable for all!