Help for Holiday Hearing

The holidays are coming!  The holidays are coming!  Are you ready to hear your best in the whirl of party chatter, festive sounds, and seasonal noise?  Here are some tips to help you hear your best and enjoy this wonderful season.


 

thanksgiving turkey

Before the holidays even begin, there’s a lot you can do to prepare for and prevent difficult listening situations.

  • Make sure you’re hearing your best.  If you haven’t been to the audiologist recently, schedule an appointment for a tune-up.  Ask your audiologist to test your speech perception in both quiet and noise (this will simulate a noisy party environment) to make sure you’re up to the task of hearing at holiday events.  If your hearing aids or cochlear implants have noise-reduction programs or programs that help you focus in on speech over noise, have your audiologist turn them on and show you how and when to use them.

 

  • Pre-teach your child holiday vocabulary (religious blessings, names of family members they don’t see often, names of new foods, toys, or places you will go, song lyrics, etc.).

 

  • Preteach routines and behavior expectations, too.  Remember, children need structure and practice to know what is expected of them in new situations.

 

hanukkah

During celebrations, be a smart communicator and use these tips to make listening easier so you can focus on FUN, not trying to decipher what other people are saying.

  • At big meals, choose a seat away from sources of noise (the kitchen door, the children’s table, if there is one, etc.).  A seat with your back to the wall is ideal because then you’ll only have noise coming at you from three directions.

 

  • If you use an FM system or directional mic, bring it along to use, too!

 

  • Ask your hosts to turn down or turn off background music during mealtime or talking time.

 

  • When hanging out with family, eliminate sources of background noise like the TV being on constantly, running the dishwasher or laundry machine, etc. (run them at night, if possible!)

 

  • Remember to pack extra batteries and HA/CI repair parts if you’re traveling out of town.

 

  • If things get overwhelming — for your or your child — take a break!  There’s nothing wrong with a short walk around the block or playing for a minute in a quiet room to deal with sensory overload and help you reset.

 

  • Don’t put your child on stage.  It can be tempting to want to show relatives all of your child’s speech, language, and listening progress since they’ve last seen you, but remember that the purpose of these skills is communication, not to be a command performer.  Making your child do “tricks” for an audience makes speech, language, and listening into a show, not a natural way of connecting with others, and teaches your child that his worth is based on performance, not his own inherent value.  Just sit back and relax, and your child is sure to surprise you by using his new skills naturally, on his own, in a low-pressure environment.  Remember, you’re still a great parent even if your child doesn’t say a peep the whole night!

 

  • Use good communication repair strategies  if you have difficulty understanding.

 

christmas

After the dust settles, assess your holiday listening and language routine.  What worked this year?  What should you try differently next time?  What did you learn about your/your child’s language and listening abilities that you didn’t know before?  Don’t let the fun and learning stop there — use all of the great photos you took to make a stellar experience book to read until the holidays begin again next year!

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