Turkey time is soon to be upon us. For all the headache that preparing a hearty Thanksgiving meal can bring, it is ultimately a great time to reconnect with family and friends. However, for loved ones with hearing loss, reconnecting can be a challenge. The cacophony of friends and family all under one roof for the day can make hearing and understanding what’s being said infinitely more difficult. So when you’re making your Thanksgiving ‘to do’ list, make sure helping your hard of hearing loved one is on it too. There is, after all, lots you can do to make their Thanksgiving celebrations something they’ll be truly thankful for.
For anyone with hearing loss, whether they’ve had it for years or have only recently been diagnosed, they can feel embarrassed and awkward about their condition. They may not even feel comfortable approaching you to talk about their anxiety over attending Thanksgiving Day dinner. So this year, why don’t you make the first move? Just ask how you can help them feel more comfortable. Not only will you get practical advice on what to do but a compassionate approach can help them feel more comfortable talking about their hearing loss in general.
Keep it down
Cram a bunch of people who haven’t seen each other in a while around one table and there is bound to be lots of chatter. Add music to the mix and it can become near impossible for someone with hearing loss to understand what is being said around them. So keep the music down or better yet, turn it off altogether.
For someone with hearing loss, it is a lot easier to talk to people who know about it. They’re more likely to be patient and understanding. So seat your loved one with hearing loss next to people who are aware of their condition. Familiar faces are also helpful as your loved one may find it easier to understand their speech.
Hold off on the cleanup
Faced with a sink full of dishes, it’s tempting to dive right in. But all that clatter can make it harder for someone with hearing loss to follow conversations. So hold off until the guests start to leave.
It isn’t just the football players on TV who will need a timeout, your loved with hearing loss may need a few too. Straining to follow lots of conversations at the dinner table can be exhausting when you have hearing loss. So create some quieter spaces where your hard of hearing loved one can retreat for a break from all the noise or have a conversation with a smaller group of guests.
Watch over your hearing impaired loved one. Be there to help steer them towards guests who are aware of their hearing loss, reign things in if the noise gets to be too much, and if it looks like they are getting overwhelmed subtly take them aside to help you out with something in a quieter part of the house.
With Thanksgiving Day done and dusted, we hope your loved one with hearing loss will look back on it with fond memories. As for the other 364 days of the year, if they are ever in need of any help with their hearing loss, we at North Houston Hearing Solutions L.L.C. are here to help.
Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.