HEAR FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Plan ahead to ensure the best communication experience during gatherings.

The holidays can be a festive time full of family gatherings, parties and events. But for one in seven of us, who has hearing loss, these events can be challenging listening environments, that often cause stress and anxiety.

Our Hear for the Holidays plan is designed to empower guests and hosts to have more enjoyable, communication-friendly gatherings – inclusive of the increasing number of us with hearing loss.

If you are a guest with a hearing loss, plan ahead:

A group of people sitting along a tableWhere you sit and your
surroundings matterA woman looking over on a balcony
Give yourself a break to refresh
  • Arrive at gatherings relaxed and well-rested to hear your best.
  • Seat yourself toward the middle of the table, where you’re best able to see everyone’s face and read lips.
  • Choose a seat with a wall behind you to filter out background noise and distance yourself from a bustling kitchen if possible.
  • Sit with an ally who understands your hearing loss and can help you.
  • Have conversations one-on-one in other rooms, or away from the noise.
  • Give yourself frequent breaks – group settings are tiring physically and mentally!
  • Don’t bluff. Tell the person you didn’t hear and ask them to repeat.
  • Don’t expect perfection. You won’t hear everything, and neither will anyone else!

If you are a host, chances are some of your guests have hearing loss. Accommodate by planning ahead:

A hand turning down the music volumeKeeping the volume low
helps everyone communicateTwo friends talking away from the noise
Speak clearly and slowly while
facing each other
  • Keep background music low and turn it off during dinnertime when conversations are key.
  • Spread out to multiple smaller rooms to promote quieter conversing environments.
  • Use smaller round tables that allow guests to hear dinner table conversation, and see faces for lipreading.
  • Skip large centerpieces that block faces and visual clues.
  • Avoid dim lighting – ensure lights are bright enough to see faces.
  • Model good communication by speaking clearly, while facing guests, and not talking while chewing or drinking.
  • Do your best to keep household noises minimized during conversations – running water, dishwasher, dogs barking, kids playing nearby all interfere with listening.

If you have hearing loss, you’re not alone! The HLAA community of support is here to help. We invite you to join our fight for accessible communication and hearing health care for all.

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