Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss

 Hearing loss resources in Rochester, NY.

We cannot believe that it is already mid-November and almost time for the holiday season. You’re already thinking about all the festivities, family dinners, mistletoe, and holiday cookies. But, have you stopped to consider the holidays and hearing loss? Whether you have a hearing loss or someone you love does, it is important to take hearing loss into consideration to ensure that you and your entire family enjoy the season.

Take Location into Consideration

When attending holiday parties, it’s important to take location into consideration. For example, you may want to opt for a spot on the couch rather than hang out in the kitchen. The hard surfaces in the kitchen will amplify background noises and cause everyone to begin speaking louder. When sitting on the couch, you will be below the noise of those standing, and the soft surface will buffer some of the racket.

During a sit-down dinner, ask to be seated near the middle of the table (so you can see everyone) and next to someone you can count on to help fill in any gaps you may have missed during the conversation.

Talk to the Host Ahead of Time

Most people (especially our close friends and family) are more than willing to make accommodations so that we can be comfortable and enjoy the festivities with hearing loss. The biggest problem, however, is that most people don’t know what we need. Take the time to help the host understand what will help you. For example, you may ask her to keep the background music at a lower volume or ensure there are some quieter nooks and crannies for easier conversation.

Ditch the Fine China

One of the most difficult background noises to converse over is the clinking and clanging of silverware on glass plates and bowls. This noise is significantly reduced when disposable cutlery is used. Many stores such as Costco and Target now offer high-quality plastic silverware that looks deceivingly like the real thing. Best part is that you also get to ditch the dishes.

Don’t Fake It

This is a big one. It’s so easy to nod and laugh along with a conversation, even if you didn’t hear enough of it to understand. While it’s convenient, doing this is not good for anyone. It can leave you feeling alone and isolated, and can cause some embarrassing miscommunications. Instead of nodding along, ask others to repeat themselves. Rather than saying “what” or “huh”, rephrase the parts of the conversation you did hear. For example, when talking to your son-in-law about his new job, instead of interrupting with “huh”, you can instead say something like, “I heard you say you got a new job in accounting, but I didn’t catch when your first day starts”. This helps people understand that you really are listening and interested, you were simply unable to hear some of what they said.

Use Visual Cues

Rephrasing and asking for repetition do not always work - especially in group conversations. In these instances, it may be smart to use a universal cue such as cupping your hand behind your ear to identify to the speaker that they need to speak up.

Use Your Hearing Aids and Other Technology

If you have hearing aids - wear them! Make sure your hearing aids are fit and finely tuned to meet your needs before the holiday parties begin. You can also get a boost from additional technology like assisted listening devices. There are sound amplification devices you can buy from many retailers, and even apps you can download on your phone that will work just like mini amplification systems.

Get Your Hearing Checked

Even if you follow all of these tips, you may still face challenges as you approach the holidays with untreated hearing loss. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids have been proven to improve social relationships - especially those with your spouse and close family. Getting your hearing checked may be the very best gift you give yourself (and your loved ones) this holiday season! Contact us at Hart Hearing to schedule a consultation and hearing test today.

Three Ways to Enjoy the Sounds of Summer

As Kenny Chesney would say, summertime is finally here! That means the sun is shining and everyone will be spending more time in the great outdoors. It’s the prime time for attending outdoor concerts, parades, fireworks, festivals and sporting events. Of course all of these events are fun, but remember you are susceptible to hearing loss due to the loud noises. Hearing loss caused by loud noises at summer events can be permanent and non-reversible. Protecting your hearing may be the last thing on your mind, but there are some easy ways to prevent hearing loss.

1. Bring Ear Protection

Would you go to the beach without bringing sunscreen, or ride your bike without a helmet? I don’t think so! Stash a few pairs of earplugs in your purse/backpack or in your car ahead of time, so that when the time comes for a fun outdoor activity with probable noise, you’ll be prepared!

2. Walk Away

If for some reason you forgot your earplugs at home, simply walk away. Keep a safe distance from the loud speaker blaring this summer’s top hits, or the drummer who is really into his solo. Keep at least a 25ft or more between you and the noise source.

3. Limit Yourself

Try to limit the time spent. You get to a concert with your friends and it’s much louder than expected. You could tell your friends you have to leave early or just arrive fashionably late to shave off some time. Or give your ears a break by retreating to a concession stand or going to the restroom. Prolonged exposure to loud noise could cause permanent damage.

According to the NIDCD (National Institute of Deafness and other Common Disorders), hearing loss can be caused at 85 decibels or more. To put this into perspective, here are some examples of common sounds you may experience during summertime fun:

  • 120dB – Concert/ Sports Game
  • 130dB – Fireworks
  • 140dB - Firearms
  • 88dB – City traffic
  • 90dB – Lawnmower
  • 97dB – Motorcycle
  • 100dB – iPod/ iPhone
 

Breaking the Silence

 
harthearing_depression_hearing_loss_rochester_ny.png

Do you know someone who used to be the  first to jump on the idea of going out with friends or attending a get-together but now, they seem to shy away from the idea? Don’t be too hard on them, as they may be suffering from hearing loss. Hearing loss is an invisible disability that can really take a toll on someone’s well-being and self-esteem if untreated. People may be too nervous or embarrassed to go out, or experience high levels of anxiety from not being able to hear well. This can lead to social isolation which can eventually lead to depression if unattended for too long. Depression affects more than 15 million adults in America and goes hand in hand with hearing loss.

Here are some ways to help you or someone you know:

  • Speak to an Audiologist

This is the first step you should take, Contact our office to get the professional help that’s needed. It is critical to treat hearing loss as soon as possible so that the depression does not escalate into something more serious such as dementia or mental decline.

  • Stay Positive!

Yes, it may be a difficult situation but keep a positive attitude and it will help your overall well-being.

  • Emotional Support

If you know someone who has been avoiding social settings due to hearing loss, be there for them. Try to understand what they are going through instead of questioning why they may not be as engaged as they once were.

  • Stay Engaged

Encouraging someone to stay engaged is very important. Start off with small gatherings to get their confidence up before diving into large crowds.

  • Be Aware of Hearing Nutrition

Believe it or not, foods rich in B12 and Folic Acid can aid in keeping your hearing in tip-top shape!

 
hart_hearing_rochester_ny_hearing_loss.png