This year has been a tough one, and as it nears to an end, it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Though the holidays are often a joyous time to look forward to, many may feel this year is different. Because of all the challenges this year, many people may not have the same excitement that typically comes along with the winter months. Usually, the holidays are a time to look forward to large family gatherings. It’s an opportunity to visit with friends you haven’t seen in a long time. This year is looking like it will be quieter, which is why it’s more important than ever to find ways to stay connected and to hear better during the holidays.
Connect Via Zoom/Facetime
Stay in touch with loved ones by scheduling video chats via Zoom or FaceTime. Regular check-ins can help us not feel isolated, and chatting through video can help us hear better. When you are on a video chat be sure to reduce any background noise — turn off the television or radio, you don’t need that for your video call! And be sure to take a minute to ensure you have appropriate lighting, as that will allow others to see your face and read your lips, which is crucial in allowing people to hear better. Pass on the information to those you are talking to make the conversation easier. Are you having a hard time understanding the computer? Let us know, and we can figure out a way to connect your hearing aids up to the computer through the use of a neck loop! Even if you don’t have hearing aids, sometimes the audio can be poor. Consider using headphones!
Look through old photo albums. If you find a special memory, take a picture with your phone and send a text or an email to a loved one reminding them of that special time. Sharing those fun memories will spread joy all around and help others feel connected. Though this might not do anything to help you hear better, it’ll certainly create connection between you and your loved ones, and that’s what the holidays are all about!
Send a letter, a card, or a care package. Taking extra time out of your day to do something thoughtful will spread joy during this difficult year, for yourself and the recipient of your special package. Doing so will help decrease the feeling of isolation, and it can be fun too! Did you know that Etsy.com showcases a few small businesses that put together thoughtful care packages created by you? Just search ‘care package’ or ‘quarantine care package’ on etsy.com to get all the details!
If you are meeting with loved ones in person, remember to use your good communication strategies, they are key in helping you hear better. Some pointers:
- Always remember to look at the person you are speaking to.
- Try to reduce background noise. Many gatherings have music playing in the background, but for those that have hearing loss, it can make communicating very difficult.
- If you do have trouble understanding something, give the speaker clues as to what you did and didn’t hear. You can say something like, “I think you said something about eating dessert, is that correct?” The speaker can also help the listener by rephrasing the sentence if the listener is not hearing well. They can change a sentence from “I really like all of your decorations” to “Those lights that you hung in the living room look very nice.” Speakers should also remember to slow down their speech if necessary.
Having a hard time understanding someone with a mask on? There’s technology that can help with that! The Ava app is an application on your smartphone that will take spoken language and translate it into text so that you can read what is being said. It’s a great way to ensure you can communicate effectively! Download it today so you have it any time you need it.
And of course, maintenance is crucial for ensuring you can hear better. Be sure to get your hearing aids cleaned and checked regularly! Many people also like to try new technology around the holidays to make sure that they can hear optimally. Staying connected to others is important and hearing is a big part of that. If you’re looking to try out something new, we can help!
Here at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center, we encourage all our patients to keep up with their communication strategies. If there is anything we can help you with, give us a call and set up an appointment to get you what you need, be it a hearing aid cleaning, ear-wax cleaning, or to be fitted for new hearing aids.