Having a hearing device around Christmas time can be both challenging and rewarding. On the one hand, the holiday season is often filled with social gatherings and noisy environments, which can be difficult for people with cochlear implants and hearing aids to navigate. However, with the right support and accommodations, having a hearing device can also allow you to fully participate in and enjoy the holiday festivities.
Read below to make the most your hearing during the festive season and social get togethers.
1. Being prepared: Sometimes days can be unpredictable, and holidays and get togethers are no exception. To help everything go as smoothly as possible, it can be important to try keep your hearing device charged, so you can have it in good working order during the holiday season when you may be attending social gatherings and events.
Listening and hearing fatigue can sometimes be more apparent in noisy environments especially with so many sounds unique over holidays like Christmas get togethers. It can be helpful to take regular breaks from socialising and noisy activities to give your ears a rest, especially at some of the longer and/or louder events.
2. Travelling: If you are traveling for the holidays, it can help to bring extra batteries or chargers for your hearing device. Remember to clean and maintain your cochlear implant regularly, especially if you will be traveling or participating in activities that may expose it to moisture or dirt. It's also a good idea to pack your device in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed. If you have a hearing device with a tele-coil setting, keep an eye out for different places like airports and train stations, often which have assistive loops which can help hear the PA and other potentially important announcements.
3. Being open about your hearing device: Consider communicating with your family friends beforehand about how they can best support you during the holiday season. This can be little things which can make the big difference such as
positioning yourself in the middle of the table so you can see everyone,
speaking clearly (no need to shout)
asking if the music volume can be at a comfortable volume
keeping hands free from their face
Similarly, if you are attending a holiday gathering where you don't know many people, introduce yourself and don't hesitate to let them know that you have a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. This can help others understand any communication challenges you may face and make them more aware of how to support you.
Also, don't be afraid to ask for help or repeat yourself if you are having trouble hearing what they're saying. Sometimes if don’t quite understand or hear what they’re saying, it can help to ask if they can explain in a different way or simply ask them ‘How do you mean?”. Overall, it can be better to ask for clarification than to miss out on important conversations or events.
4. Treat yourself:
The gift of hearing is an amazing thing, however, it can take a lot of work on your part to (re-) train your brain to identify sounds again, so it's important to not be too hard on yourself and take time to enjoy it and do something for you. How have you found the experience of the festive season with your cochlear implant or hearing aid? Has there been any tips that you have found to work well for you?