By Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D. –
The happy chaos that accompanies the holiday season is welcomed by millions of people all over the world. But for those with hearing loss, the seasonal festivities and accompanying hoopla can mean a much more difficult listening environment…one that is confusing, frustrating…even depressing.
I am a firm believer that no one should miss out on a single moment of holiday cheer! Life, friendships and family are meant to be celebrated every chance you get. That is why I have come up with a few tips that are designed to make this holiday season the best it can be.
Tip #1: Make an appointment with your audiologist.
• If you are a current hearing aid wearer, schedule an appointment now to have your hearing aids cleaned and checked to make sure they functioning well and are programmed correctly. If you have a spare, back-up set of hearing aids, make sure they are also in working order. And don’t forget to stock up on batteries.
• If you do not wear hearing aids but are not hearing as well as you once did, schedule an appointment now to have your hearing checked. Don’t delay making an appointment because you don’t want to wear hearing aids. Often hearing loss is caused by an abundance of earwax. Once the earwax is removed, your hearing will improve.
Tip #2: Crowded, noisy environments make hearing difficult for everyone, even if you do not have hearing loss. Plan ahead for office parties, concerts or other large group functions.
• If you are having a conversation with another person, try to go to another room or quieter area to talk.
• Keep away from the middle of the room. Instead, have the person to whom you are talking sit down or stand with his or her back to the wall. By following this simple tip, adaptive dual microphones in hearing aids can more easily focus on the sounds you want to hear while reducing or eliminating irritating and distracting background noise.
Tip #3: Eating out also requires a little planning.
• Plan your trips to restaurants with small groups. That way the conversation will be easier for everyone…even those without hearing loss.
• Arrive early so you can request a table that is away from the kitchen or service area.
• Reduce background noise by choosing a booth in a corner if possible. This location will help the advanced technology in your hearing aids do what it is designed to do more effectively.
Tip #4: Be assertive with friends and family at family gatherings.
• It is up to you to take charge of your listening environment. Don’t pretend you are hearing when you are not. It will only make you seem out of touch.
• If you struggle to hear the voices of small children, explain to them you want to hear everything they have to say and try to have the conversation in a quieter area of the room that goes for all conversations with adults too.
Tip #5: Prepare for vacation travel.
• If you are travelling by air arrive at the airport early. If you struggle to understand the public address system at the airport, alert the airline desk personnel at your gate that you cannot hear the boarding announcements well. Request that they personally notify you. Sit near the personnel counter.
• Make sure you have an adequate supply of batteries with you, in case you get stranded.
• Try to avoid taking your hearing aids out while on the plane, but if you must do so, make sure you take the time to put them away. Do not let them lay in your lap or on your lap tray, otherwise they may be lost when you de-board.
• When staying overnight in a hotel, ask the hotel if they have a hotel kit for the hearing impaired. These kits typically include:
– Visual smoke detector, door knock signaler and phone alert
– Portable phone amplifier
– Tactile vibrator alarm clock
– TTY (teletext)
– Closed caption converter
Tip #6: Gift Giving and Wish List options make holiday giving easy.
• Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) can make good gifts for hearing aid users and non-users alike. Perhaps you or a loved one would enjoy a wireless TV listening device that will let the person with hearing loss comfortably hear the television without having to worry about the volume being too loud for others. Amplified telephones and alerting device are also great gifts.
• Not sure what to give? Gift Certificates are available for purchase throughout the holiday season at Advanced Hearing Solutions.
Happy Holidays from the staff at Advanced Hearing Solutions!
Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D., owner and practicing audiologist at Advanced Hearing Solutions in Englewood, FL is an experienced professional whose career has been devoted to helping people of all ages hear and understand more clearly.
With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Crosby’s career path is marked by the pursuit of advanced education. After completing her undergraduate requirements, she received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Florida State University and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida.
Her credibility as an authority grew during her tenure as the Director of Audiology at the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota, FL from 1991-1998. Today, in addition to managing a successful audiology practice, Dr. Crosby just completed her second term as president of The Florida Academy of Audiology.
941-474-8393 | www.drnoelcrosby.com