December has begun, and so has the party season! This time of year is filled with all different kinds of social events like family and friend gatherings, and end-of-year work parties. In this post, we will share some tips for hearing during such events, to help you to make the most of the holiday season.
1: Reduce noise.
Everyone finds it difficult to communicate in noisy situations, but these situations can be even more difficult for a person with a hearing loss. Turn off the TV and any background carols or music, before sitting down for meals or when talking with family and friends.
2: Find the best seat.
When you enter a room, check out the “listening environment” and choose a position that will enable you to hear your best, and make communicating easier. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Position your better hearing side towards the people you are talking with.
- Move away from sources of noise like a band or music from loudspeakers.
- Sit next to someone you know, who won’t mind repeating things if you miss parts of the conversation.
3: Enjoy technology.
There are some great assistive listening devices out there that can help you make your holiday celebrations a more enjoyable listening experience.
- Use a wireless receiver or Bluetooth neckloop with various devices to make it easier to listen to carols, watch the New Year’s countdown on television, or chat on the phone with relatives.
- Find out what is available at the party location. If there are going to be presentations or speeches, find out in advance if captioning or a loop system will be available. If they aren’t already organised, then recommend them!
4: One-to-one is best.
Talking with people is easier if you focus on one-to-one conversations or stick to smaller groups.
- Make time to talk to individual people one-to-one, or just a few people in a quieter place.
- Arrange small gatherings at home so that you can manage the listening environment.
- If you’re attending a big group gathering, bring along an ALD such as a table mic or handheld mic to help you stay involved in the conversation.
5: Be specific.
It is likely that in noisy gatherings you will miss parts of the conversation. Don’t be afraid to be specific when asking someone to repeat themselves.
- Tell the speaker what you heard so that they can fill in the missing part, rather than repeat the entire sentence, for example: “I heard you say that you went on the train, what was the next part?”
- Ask the speaker to slow down or use shorter sentences.
- Ask the speaker to look at you so that you can lip read while listening.
6: Embrace all the new sounds.
There are many festive songs, music, carols, and concerts on offer over the holiday period for you to enjoy! Expose your ears and brain to new listening experiences, and use ALDS to make sure you hear the music as clearly as possible.
7: Prepare for conversation topics.
Before heading to a social event, practice your listening skills with a loved one using topics related to the holiday season, such as holiday meals, planning activities for New Year’s, or deciding what presents to buy. A familiar topic and vocabulary will help you to follow questions and conversations.
8: Stay confident and open.
Attending gatherings and parties during the holiday season will mean you are likely to meet lots of new people. This can sometimes be a challenging experience for someone with a hearing loss! However, don’t be afraid to tell others about your cochlear implant and explain how they can help you to follow the conversation. When asked politely, people are usually more than happy to help when they know how to!
9: Take time for yourself.
Listening with a cochlear implant can be tiring especially in busy, social environments. Reflect on how you are feeling throughout these social events and know that it is ok to take some time out when needed.
10: Most importantly, have fun!
Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and make the most of the new and wonderful listening experiences the holiday season has to offer.
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