Holiday Help for the Hard of Hearing

The holidays are an active and fun time of year filled with family visits, talking, laughing and lots of noise. The clang of silverware, chatter of dishes, clink of glasses, laughter, multiple people perhaps talking at once, kids’ crying or yelling, lively music playing amidst lots of activity: all these sounds combine to make up a typical holiday meal.

For the hard of hearing, the holidays can be a dreaded time of year. The constant strain to make out what’s being said, wondering who said something, being spoken to by more than one person at a time, or worse yet by someone in another room who can’t be seen. Mealtime can be especially loud and even harder to hear clearly. So the hard of hearing often retreat to quieter and lonely spaces to avoid the issue of not hearing.

Luckily, there are some easy measures that others can take to make the holidays easier for the hard of hearing. Remember these and create a more pleasant holiday for everyone:

  • Make eye contact to be sure you have the listener’s attention before speaking
  • Speak only to the hard of hearing in the same room
  • Avoid chewing or having anything else in your mouth when speaking
  • Speak in well-lit rooms
  • Reduce or eliminate the volume of background noise
  • Offer children their own table to cut down on loud, uncontrolled noise
  • Clear large table centerpieces which might get in the speaker’s/listener’s sightline

Once you prepare the stage for the hard of hearing, it will be easier for everyone to enjoy time together. Make these simple behavioral changes to help your loved ones hear better this holiday season.

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