Navigating the holidays with hearing loss or tinnitus

A family at Thanksgiving dinner

Navigating the holidays with hearing loss or tinnitus

Those who have hearing loss or tinnitus, or who wear hearing aids, can have difficulty during the holiday season due to several factors:

  • Noise levels during family dinners and constant holiday music playing can make it hard to hear
  • Expected long-distance phone conversation with friends and family can be difficult
  • Prolonged exposure to cold weather can cause problems with hearing aids
  • Ear infections are more common over the holidays, due to germs from unfamiliar places, airports, and kids home from school.

There are several things someone with tinnitus or hearing loss can do to mitigate the challenges presented by the holidays.

Sit at the end of a table
This allows you to see more people and gain contextual clues to what is being said. This is helpful when trying to participate in conversation with multiple people.

Ask for accommodations
Often, lights can be turned up and music down on request, making it easier to focus on conversational voice and visual cues, and reducing the difficulties hearing loss or tinnitus can present in such surroundings.

Check your hearing aids regularly
Double-check your aids for settings and battery strength, and carry extra batteries plus an extra pair of aids if available. This can help you stay on top of your needs in cold, damp weather that could cause issues.

Take precautions to avoid germs
Wearing a face mask on flights and doubling down on good nutrition and supplements can help you avoid any ear/nose/throat issues which are common around the holidays.

Use a video chat service
Skype, Google hangouts, Facetime, or Whatsapp can allow you to chat face to face with far-away friends and family while taking advantage of facial cues to help you track the conversation more readily than you could with audio only.

Join in the caroling
According to NPR, the SMART Lab out of Ryerson University in Toronto may have discovered a potential link between learning to sing and improving hearing loss in noisy environments. Pitch training through singing may help those with hearing loss track frequency patterns, which could allow for easier following of conversations in a noisy space.

All of these tips can help you enjoy the holiday season with friends and family, regardless of your tinnitus or hearing loss.

There are several things someone with tinnitus or hearing loss can do to mitigate the challenges presented by the holidays.