Tips for Christmas day – when you have a hearing loss
Hearing well at the family Christmas dinner
Christmas is a social time, a family time. It’s nice to sit back, relax and catch up with family and friends who we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes it’s noisy, sometimes it’s hard to hear over the kids playing, or other conversations.
Is hearing loss getting in the way of your relaxing family time?
7 tips for managing Christmas Day
1. Sit in a good spot
Often it is helpful to sit with a wall behind you and in the middle of the table. This gives a better chance of hearing more of the conversation and not being distracted by sounds from behind. Try not to be be shy about talking to family and friends about which might be a better seat for you.
2. Keep the volume down during Christmas dinner
Turn down the music and turn off the TV during dinner. Added noise causes something called the Lombard effect – when it is noisy people talk louder. This can significantly increase the overall noise level making it quite difficult to follow conversations. Others may not even notice if you turn it down before the meal. Hearing in noise is very challenging even for people with minimal hearing losses.
3. Talk to those sitting next to you
Try and avoid conversations across large distances. If you need to talk, move closer, or ask that you continue later, when you can sit closer together.
4. Wear your hearing aids – all day every day
Wearing your hearing aids keeps your brain and hearing system active. People who only wear their hearing aids "when they need them" tend to be the same people who are unsuccessful with hearing aids. This is because their brain never has time to adjust to hearing sound. If you only wear your hearing aids in noisy group situations your brain will probably find the sound over whelming – a bit like running a marathon without doing any training.
Wearing hearing aids all the time, creates a new normal – normal to hear sounds (rather than normal to miss sounds). Your brain works out which sounds are important and which sounds are not important.
When you first get hearing aids you become very aware of all the sounds around you. The more you wear the aids the more your brain adapts, it will decide "that" sound is not important and it will no longer jump into your attention and you will no longer notice it. This process happens very quickly with the current hearing aids as they work so well.
So if your hearing aids are "in the draw" start wearing them in the few weeks coming up to Christmas. If you are not happy with your current aids – go and see your Audiologist and get them set up correctly, so you can wear them.
5. Try other technologies
There are many technologies available now that connect up with your hearing aids. They connect to your phone (land line or mobile), TV, computer, MP3 player and stereo. You can also get remote microphone technology, where you can give the speaker a microphone or place it on the other end of the table, then hear the conversation directly into your hearing aids.
6. Have reasonable expectations
You may not hear everything that everyone says – and that's ok. Enjoy talking to the people near you and seek out the others and talk to them later. Could you suggest you all rotate seats for desert?
7. Bring your sense of Humour
It can be hard to keep it all in perspective during Christmas festivities, especially if you feel like you are missing out on the fun. Try to laugh a little and be grateful for the wonderful friends and family around you. You may not hear every word they say but you can partake in all of the good feeling around the table. Enjoy the moment.
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!
We are close for the Holidays – Reopening Monday 4th January 2016.
For hearing aid emergencies call M: 0473 482 868