With the holidays approaching fast, many people may not have the same excitement that typically comes along with the winter months. In years past, large gatherings and traveling to visit family members may have been on the horizon. This year, things may look quieter. However, it is still important to stay connected with friends and family, even if things look different this year. Here are some ways to stay connected and to hear better during the holidays.
Connect Via Zoom/Facetime
Schedule video chats via zoom or facetime. Regular check-ins can help us not feel isolated. When you are on a video chat, be sure to reduce any background noise. Make sure you turn off the television or radio. Good lighting is also key! Good lighting will allow others to see your face and be able to read your lips if they are having trouble understanding you. Pass on the information to those you are talking to make the conversation easier.
Look through old photo albums. If you find a special memory, take a picture with your phone and send a text or an email to a loved one reminding them of that special time. Sharing those fun memories will spread joy all around and help others feel connected.
Send a letter, a card, or a care package. Taking the extra time out of your day to do something thoughtful will spread joy during this difficult year. It will help decrease the feeling of isolation that is so prevalent for some people right now. Did you know that on Etsy.com, some small online businesses will put together and send thoughtful care packages YOU put together? Just search ‘care package’ or ‘quarantine care package’ on etsy.com.
If you are meeting with loved ones in person, remember to use your good communication strategies. It is important to always remember to look at the person you are speaking to. Try to reduce background noise. Many gatherings have music playing in the background, but for those that have hearing loss, it can make communicating very difficult. If you do have trouble understanding something, give the speaker clues as to what you did hear. You can say something like, “I think you said something about eating dessert, is that correct?” The speaker can also help the listener by rephrasing the sentence if the listener is not hearing well. They can change a sentence from “I really like all of your decorations” to “Those lights that you hung in the living room look very nice.” Speakers should also remember to slow down their speech if necessary.
Having a hard time understanding someone with a mask on? Another tip if you are having a hard time understanding people who are wearing a mask is to use the app Ava–this application on your smartphone will take spoken language and translate it into text so that you can read what is being said.
Get your hearing aids cleaned and checked! Making sure your hearing aids are working well is a great idea. Many people also like to try new technology around the holidays to make sure that they can hear optimally. Staying connected to others is important and hearing is a big part of that!
As an audiologist, I regularly counsel my patients on improving communication. If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to call us at 410-696-2890.