The holidays and the start of a new decade will soon be upon us. How are we almost at the end of the year already? Unfortunately, if you live with hearing loss it can be difficult to feel the same level of enthusiasm for tinsel, turkey and trees. Especially if your condition affects your social life too.
Well, your gift to yourself this holiday season is to have a good time and not let hearing loss, tinnitus or related conditions stop you from enjoying the holidays.
We know that’s easier said than done, so here’s some practical steps to help you make this festive season your best one yet.
Avoid Listening Fatigue
Listening fatigue happens after long periods of exposure to a particular noise or devoting a lot of energy into socializing and keeping up with conversations. Symptoms can include tiredness, pain, discomfort and a loss of ear sensitivity.
The first step is to take a break. Removing yourself from the ongoing sound and noise will give your ears a chance to rest. You might want to use the 50/10 rule, which is for every 50 minutes spent listening to a mix or sound, give yourself a 10 minute break to avoid over stimulating your ears.
Another tip is to lower the volume of your hearing aids if you wear any. When experiencing listening fatigue you may be tempted to raise the volume in order to hear more clarity. In reality, you are tiring your ears and brain even further and exposing yourself to the same volume levels for too long may worsen your condition.
Keeping Up With Conversations
You know this: one of the main challenges that come with hearing loss is keeping up with conversations. Even if you are a great lip reader, it can still be tough when multiple people are speaking at once. The good news is that technology could provide you with a solution. There are plenty of apps that can help you to communicate with the people around you when you are experiencing listening fatigue and need to give your hearing a break
One such app is called Ava, that connects each speaker with a user who will translate what is being said, by typing out subtitles. If you have previously found it tough to decipher what’s being said around the dinner table or even when out with friends, it could really help bring clarity to the conversation.
Ava and similar apps like it, can be really helpful to give those who are hard of hearing or completely deaf their confidence back.
Chances are that you will find yourself in a different surrounding other than the comfort of your own home this season and certain venues can make communicating almost impossible. When this happens it can really knock down your confidence and make you not want to go out again. As tough as it seems, you have to make sure this doesn’t become the case. You deserve to have a happy social life over the holidays (and in general!), just the same as everybody else.
For example, if you suffer from ringing in the ears (tinnitus), your condition can be made worse by exposure to loud noise. It’s advisable to wear earplugs in loud venues to prevent further damage, and this practice can also help to put your mind at rest too. You can also opt for a hearing aid that includes a tinnitus masker like the HearGift V7 hearing aid to minimize the symptoms of tinnitus and ringing in the ear. Regardless, should also take regular breaks from the noise moving to a quiet area or going outside every so often.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw or attend parties however. There are some fantastic guides on how to throw inclusive events that give everyone a chance to join in the fun. One of the top tips is to gravitate towards venues that are brightly lit, so that you can lip read and sign easily. Sometimes it’s just a case of making some simple adjustments, meaning there’s really no reason why you should miss out.
Don’t Do It Alone
When you experience hearing loss, it can be easy to shut yourself away and not confide in others. The truth is, we all need human interaction to help manage our condition as well as boost our mood and self esteem.
If you are struggling with ringing in the ears or hearing loss, be sure to tell your friends and family about how you are feeling. If you shut yourself away, you are more likely to become isolated and depressed.
Talking with friends and family doesn’t just have to be related to your condition. Socializing in general can hugely boost your mental and physical health, and it can really take your mind off focusing on your condition too much.
The Bottom Line
Whether you have ringing in the ears, hearing loss or are just generally hard of hearing – you still deserve to have the same great time over the holidays as anyone else.
It can be tough to even want to socialize if you are still coming to terms with your condition. Remember though, that many people have health issues and problems you might not even be aware of…nobody is perfect!
The key is to focus on socializing and having a good time as much as you are able to. Remember, you can always confide in friends and family or even local support groups if you need to talk about your condition.
We hope these tips have been helpful, and that you have a wonderful time this holiday season. Here’s to 2020!
*Please note, the information listed in our blog, posts and forums is not and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for diagnostics, treatment and medical information and advice.