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Christmas Hearing Tips

Festive celebrations can be difficult for someone with a hearing loss to understand speech and follow conversations. Below are some simple hearing tips that can help you and your guests fully enjoy this Christmas season!

When hosting a Christmas get together at home, it’s important to create a comfortable environment for all guests, including those with a hearing loss.

  1. Use a round dinner table. Using a circular table will enable those with difficult hearing to lip read and keep up with the conversations, instead of being a few steps behind and having to be brought up to speed.
  2. Set up more than one room for gathering. Loud laughter and the act of trying to talk over one another may make it difficult for a person with hearing loss to follow conversations. A smaller, more enclosed room away from the primary noise in the common area would be better for one-on-one conversations.
  3. Lower the volume on Christmas music. It may be festive, but music may also be a distraction and could weaken everyone’s ability to listen and converse if played too loud. Keep music soft and subtle and ensure furniture is placed facing away from any musical speakers so that those with hearing loss have an easier time focusing on the conversation before them.
  4. Break out the cards and board games! Board and card games are a great way to keep the party going. Some suggestions include Scrabble, Monopoly, Rummy, etc.
  5. Plastic or Paper. Use disposable plates and utensils instead of china and silverware that clanks.

If you’re attending a small gathering and you have a hearing loss, there are some easy, unobtrusive tactics you can use to communicate better with other guests.

  1. Find a quieter area. When engaging in one-on-one conversions, try to find somewhere that is quiet, has soft surfaces and little or no music to ensure that you can better hear what the other person says.
  2. Position your “best side.” In a large group setting, position yourself in a spot where you can see the most people and make eye contact with them. If you have a “better side,” seat yourself so that most people are on that side.
  3. Consider lighting. Engage with guests in a well-lit area so that you can read people’s lips and see visual clues if necessary.
  4. Pick a dinner buddy. At dinner, seat yourself next to a person you have the least difficulty hearing, or someone who usually clues you in on missed pieces of conversation.
  5. Tell the host ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to speak to the host about accommodating your needs – whether it’s turning down the music or directing you to a quieter area where you’re able to catch up with friends and family.

This feature has been re-printed with the permission of Starkey.

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