The Holidays can be a trying time for families. It’s not uncommon for a hearing loss to become obvious when families get together and someone gets left out of the conversation because there is too much background noise. This can be a good time to gently suggest that family member get their hearing checked. Unfortunately it can be a point of contention rather than a gentle suggestion.
Yelling at the hearing impaired doesn’t help. It causes resentment. Saying, “why don’t you just turn up your hearing aid?” is another way to create tension. Hearing loss or a hearing aid that isn’t working properly is more evident to the family than the one with the hearing loss. Ask them instead if they have been noticing they’ve been missing out on conversations and if they are more comfortable in a one-on-one conversation than in a group. If they are open to suggestions it might be a good time to suggest you both go and get a hearing test.
For the moment, since you can’t get a hearing test on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas, there are some things that might help. Make sure everyone doesn’t talk at once. A person with hearing loss may do fine if only one person is talking at a time. Turn off the music and the TV if you want to have a conversation. If that’s not practical, take them to another room where you can talk without all the noise. Look at them, don’t talk with your head turned away or when they have their back turned. We all hear better when we can do a little lip reading.
After the holiday, schedule a hearing evaluation together. If they have mobility problems I can bring my mobile hearing unit and do a free hearing evaluation in their home.
Make this season a blessed one.
Peter Lee is an expert on hearing and hearing loss, and is the owner of Peak Hearing LLC
Peter can be reached at: 541-451-1733