Happy Holidays for HoHs – By Gael Hannan
Hearing Health & Technology Matters
By Gael Hannan
December 16, 2014
Whoo hoo! Christmas is almost here—and so are Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice! The excitement and sparkle, the food and wine, the gifts, the spirituality, the music! Activities to share, beauty to both see and hear….
Sheesh, it was all good until that last point—the bit about hearing. The season is supposed to be one of joy, but for some people it brings on ‘holiday blues’. And for people who have hearing loss, who are hard of hearing, no other holiday season drives home the hard and loss like this one. The calendar is jammed, or at least busier than usual, with parties and dinners, TV specials, church events, and concerts—most of which present some degree of communication challenge for people who don’t hear well.
Around now, many hearing loss-related organizations publish articles on how to survive—even enjoy—the holidays with hearing loss, and I guess this one of them. All these articles and blogs offer heaps of great hints on accessible communication and what we should do to avoid becoming too stressed out—or cut out of important holiday events. Sitting on the sidelines of conversations is no fun and can turn joy into pain. And that’s not the seasonal spirit we’re aiming for, right? Every year I write to Santa about this. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, I asked for thoughtful gifts to give a hearing boost to me and my people (the ones living with the hard and loss).
But I’m finally getting a little smarter about Santa (see below) – and in addition to the many lists of jolly-holiday hearing DOs, I would like to offer a few holiday DON’Ts, because you don’t want hearing loss to be the defining memory of your 2014 holidays.