Written by Lauren Clason, staff writer for Healthy Hearing
The holiday season is exhausting, what with the planning, the prepping, the cooking, the packing and the peacekeeping it takes to pull off a successful vacation. Sometimes the holidays can be more work than rest, and those with hearing loss know that better than anyone. Because of the mental strain it takes to hear everyone and everything correctly, dealing with stress often takes a larger toll on people with hearing loss. By the end of the day, when you’ve been juggling 10 different tasks with 10 different people, you might feel like you just ran a marathon. But the holidays don’t have to tire you out. Here are some simple ways you can lighten the load and enjoy the festive, family-filled fun.
Be your own advocate
As always, if you’re in a situation where you’re having trouble hearing, let the people around you know about your hearing loss. Once they realize it’s more difficult for you to keep up with the conversation, they’ll be more conscious of their volume, their enunciation and of looking at you when they speak. Even if your family members know you have hearing loss, they can temporarily forget about those little extra gestures that make such a difference to you, especially if your hearing is good in most other instances. A friendly reminder can refresh their memory.
This is a given, but don’t forget to pack all your healthy hearing tools when you leave the house. Sometimes the things we need the most during a trip are the items we forget! When packing, make a list the night before of all the hearing aid and assistive listening device accessories you’ll need. If people are coming to stay with you, make sure your healthy hearing tools are functioning properly and safely stored in an area out of reach of children and pets, but of easy access to you. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices will come in handy when you’re around so many people, whether you’re in eating dinner in the dining room or holiday shopping at the mall. Even if you don’t wear them regularly, you might find you need them when everyone comes home for the holidays.
Take a break
If you find yourself feeling tired or developing a headache, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself for awhile. Remember that your brain is working overtime to compensate for your hearing loss, so it’s normal if fatigue sets in early, especially on a busy day. When the afternoon hits, before the big meal, take an hour or two for some rest or quiet activity on your own…
Create a quiet zone
…in a quiet corner of the house. If you’re at home, it’s probably easiest to designate your bedroom the quiet zone. If you’re visiting someone else, however, it might be a little more difficult, especially if you’re sharing your sleeping quarters with children. If your children are young enough, sneak in and join them in their mid-day nap. You can also relax with a book, flip on the TV or sit in front of a crackling fire.
Don’t stretch yourself
When you’re around so many family members that you haven’t seen all year, it can be tempting to run from activity to activity without scheduling a break in the action. That’s usually an unwise decision, however, because of the stress and exhaustion it can cause you in the end. The holidays are for relaxing so be sure not to stretch yourself too thin. Be conscious of what you can do and want to do and don’t be afraid to say no to an activity that seems too stressful.
The holidays bring great memories and it’s natural to want to participate in all of them. But don’t forget about yourself in the process. Take breaks periodically when you feel yourself getting tired and don’t be afraid to tell someone that you have hearing loss. Making a few changes to your holiday schedule can make the whole experience much more enjoyable. And relaxing.