5 Survival Tips for this Holiday Season
Tis the season! It’s time to stuff the turkey (or maybe the tofurky), braise the brisket and squeeze in all of the holiday gatherings with your loved ones. The holidays are a busy and exciting time of the year! But they can also be loud and sometimes a challenging time for those who are hard of hearing. Here are 5 communication survival tips to get you through this holiday season.
1. Mind your manners
Your mother probably told you to never talk with your mouth full and to sit up straight. Did you know this not only makes you a polite guest, but also a better communicator! Talking with your mouth full means your facial cues are not available for those who are hard of hearing to understand you. A large proportion of speech understanding comes from lip reading and facial cues, which are not in full view if you are chewing while talking, or worse looking down and at your phone while you are having a conversation. Sitting up straight allows you to project better, helping those who are hard of hearing understand you with greater ease.
2. Plan your seat
Ideally sitting near people you would like to catch up with over dinner, away from music, in a well-lit area that is quiet, would be an ideal spot for you to enjoy your holiday dinner. If you want to catch up with everyone, try sitting in the middle of the table so you are physically closest to most people. Remember, lip-reading is your friend, so if you have any ‘low-talkers’ in the family, be sure they are in close proximity so they are easier to understand.
3. See your audiologist before the holidays if you wear hearing aids
Make sure your hearing aids are fitting appropriately and are working their best before your holiday gatherings. Ensure you have a battery supply, or that your hearing aids are charged well prior to a holiday gathering.
4. Advocate for yourself
Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know this setting is overall quite difficult to hear in, and let them know how to better communicate. Family members can be encouraged to:
· face you when they are speaking
· speak clearly without yelling at a moderate pace
· rephrase instead of repeating something if it was missed (hearing the same thing a different way can be helpful)
· get your attention by saying your name before speaking with you.
5. Relax and enjoy!
The holidays are an exciting time but can be stressful. Make sure to enjoy your time with friends and family and be grateful for every moment. Happy Holidays!!