Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year! There are often many social events to attend for both friends and family, not to mention all those end of year work parties! It’s a great time to relax and be merry, to catch up with friends and family and to eat plenty of delicious festive feasts!
But as fun as the Christmas festivities are, having a house or venue full of people chatting, kids playing games, and Christmas carols blaring, can be very daunting for those who are hard of hearing.
But don’t worry! We’ve got some great tips for surviving the holidays with your ears and sanity intact!
Pick your spot wisely
- Sit somewhere with a wall behind you, this will make it much easier to hear conversation and you won’t be distracted by noise behind you. This is particularly helpful if you’re dining out. Don’t be too shy to ask the host if you can pick your seat.
- If one ear is better than the other, place yourself so that ear is facing towards the majority of the conversation.
- When picking a restaurant, try to choose one without loud music or concrete flooring. If you can, find a table that’s away from speakers, heavy traffic and the kitchen area.
Turn down the Christmas carols and turn up the lights
- Don’t be afraid to turn the Christmas carols down or off completely during dinner – some people may thank you, especially if you have kids or grandkids working in retail over the Christmas period, they’ll have heard enough of them!
- A candlelit dinner is beautiful but it can make lip reading difficult, so try to avoid too much mood lighting.
Talk to those sitting next to you
- Don’t try to talk across the table, talking to those next to you will make the conversation easier to follow, and we find it’s better for having a quality catch up with a friend or relative.
- If someone across the table wants to chat to you, ask to switch seats or to continue the conversation later.
- To mix up your conversation buddies a little, suggest rotating seating positions for dessert.
Start the conversation
It’s much easier to follow a conversation if you’ve set the topic, and it’ll give you a nice boost your confidence to initiate the conversation and to be talking about something you’re familiar with.
Wear your hearing aids
Lots of people don’t like to wear their hearing aids to social gatherings but they really can help a lot. Make sure you experiment with a few settings to find what’s optimal for you.
- If they’re not already aware, tell those sitting next to you that you have hearing difficulties – this can avoid hurt feelings if you don’t respond to them straight away because you haven’t heard them.
- Be patient! Some people may not have had much experience dealing with hearing loss so explaining patiently early on will help you feel empowered and in control rather than feeling left out or patronized.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat themselves – ask for exactly what you missed to show you’re paying attention, for example “what did you say your friend’s job was?”
- People want to be understood and many would be glad for advice on how they can help you hear better – So don’t be afraid to ask them to speak clearly, avoid covering their mouth, and to face you so you can lip read. Being clear from the get go will go a long way to avoiding any potential frustration from both parties.
Use body language
- Encourage others to speak clearly and give good eye contact by using your body language – use hand movements, lean in, speak clearly, and give good eye contact yourself. You’ll find that people will start to mirror you surprisingly quickly!
- Cup your ear to indicates to them to speak louder without interrupting the flow of the conversation.
Don’t fake it
It can get tiring to keep asking people to repeat themselves, so it’s very tempting to pretend to understand and just nod along, or laugh when others are laughing. But be careful, this can end up in an awkward situation if someone’s actually asked you a question!
Take the conversation somewhere quiet
- Find a quiet one-on-one conversation spot.
- If it’s a nice summer night, take the conversation outside away from the main party where you don’t have to strain to hear over a noisy crowd.
Enlist a hearing buddy
Following a noisy group conversation can be hard. Sit next to someone who you feel comfortable asking to repeat parts of the conversation to you, or write things down for you. This way you won’t miss any of the punch lines and you won’t have to interrupt the flow of conversation to ask someone to repeat themselves.
- The hustle and bustle of a Christmas party can be tiring for anyone, whether or not they have hearing difficulties. Make sure you take some timeout somewhere quiet, like the garden, the bathroom or ask to help out in the kitchen where it’s likely not as noisy.
- Hearing loss can be very fatiguing, so taking a quick break can give your brain and ears a rest, and help you build up energy for more conversations.
- You could even go for a short walk!
We hope we’ve armed you with some helpful hints, so you can spend less time worrying and more time on the important things like barbecuing the perfect prawns or refining your spin bowling skills for the Boxing Day (backyard cricket) Test.
Free Hearing Test!
Think you may have hearing loss? Don’t miss out on the conversation this christmas period, come in for a free hearing test (valued at $90) and we’ll give you some more great advice on how you can hear better.
Click here for your
FREE HEARING TEST VOUCHER
(Valued at $90)
Call 9521 6118 for an appointment or book online.
Feel free to pass this voucher on to a family member or friend!
We have clinicians fluent in English and Italian. Apex Hearing offers:
- Hearing tests for adults and children
- Free hearing tests and free hearing aids for eligible Pensioners, Veterans and WorkSafe clients (all procedures are done on site)
- All brands of digital hearing aids, individual adjusted
- Hearing aid batteries, accessories and repairs