Your Hearing and Your Holiday

Some people love the family get together of Thanksgiving. Some grin and bear it. But no matter where one falls on that spectrum, anyone with hearing loss can find such events a challenge.

Being in a crowded holiday space means a congested auditory environment, making it hard to decipher individual words from the cacophony — and conversation a challenge.

If COVID-19 isn’t putting the kibosh on your Thanksgiving plans this year — and your hearing is an issue — there are some things you can do manage the day.

First, remember that taking breaks throughout the day will help. Working through hearing issues is hard mental work and getting some downtime to recharge will not only improve your comprehension but also probably lighten your mood. Walks around the block or sitting in the quietest room in the house are a good idea.

As far as strategies for when you’re in the thick of things, remember that where you position yourself in a room can be important. Not only will you spend a lot of time passing dishes around if you sit in the middle of the table, but you will also be trying to manage voices from either side and in front of you. Sitting at the corner of the table will cut down on the input you have to process. Likewise, stay away from sitting near the TV.

And let people who may not be aware of it know that you’re hard of hearing. Pride is not your friend in this situation. And use the hearing aid if you’ve got one. Trying to fake it will just lead to frustration. If you make it clear that hearing doesn’t come as naturally to you as to others, people will be far more likely to slow down and make things easier.

There’ll be plenty to talk about — hopefully not too much politics — so do everything you can to be part of the conversation.