Season’s greetings! The holidays are around the corner. Many of us are hustling and bustling to prepare for our family gatherings. We’re so busy preparing where to meet and what to eat that we can forget an important component of the holidays: communication. Regardless of whether your family has a hearing impairment or not, these five tips can help to improve your holiday conversations with those closest to you, making your time with them that much more enjoyable.
1. Be Aware of Those Being Left out the Conversation
If you notice that someone is being quieter than usual and you know they have a hearing impairment, take some time to speak to them directly and incorporate them into your conversations. Make eye contact, and speak clearly to them. Opt to move closer to them rather than shouting if you find that they can’t hear you.
2. Avoid Dimming the Lights
Not only do we listen to people to understand what they’re saying, we also watch their facial expressions and the way their mouths are moving. Make sure that your holiday environment provides an opportunity for people to communicate as clearly as possible.
3. Assign Seats to Everyone
Try to have those with hearing loss sit in a place where they can see everyone, or almost everyone’s face; this will help them understand what people are saying even if they can’t hear very well.
4. Clean Up After Everyone Has Left the Room
Though you may be eager to restore order to your holiday environment, the clinking and clashing of dishes produces sounds that may be too harsh for some – especially when mixed in with loud music and spirited conversation! Try to clean up after everyone has left the room to avoid disrupting conversations.
5. Provide Alternatives to a Noisy Environment
The answer to hearing loss isn’t always to turn up the volume. Background noise is a common complaint from those who have hearing loss; it impedes their ability to listen to the things that they really want to hear. There is no need to celebrate in silence, but try to provide alternative environments for those who may prefer a quieter atmosphere.
Most importantly, if you have hearing loss and you feel isolated this holiday season, let somebody know! Your loved ones will be happy to help you rejoin the conversation.