Christmas time is a whirlwind of gatherings at home and at work. But many people with hearing loss and tinnitus (myself included) dread a lot of these events because we struggle to cope with noise levels. And that means it’s really tempting to find an excuse not to go (does anyone else pray for snow?).
One strategy that will help you really get your jingle on this Christmas is to ask for help from a friend or partner. I know, I know…we spend so much of our life determined to be independent that admitting we need support can be as challenging as the hearing loss or tinnitus we live with. But, trust me, in this season of socialising it’s going to save your bacon.
So my challenge to you this holiday season is to forward this blog, or the social media post you read it from, to your besty, whether that’s your partner or a friend, and ask them to lend a hand.
5 ways to help someone with hearing loss or tinnitus have a great holiday season
Stick with your friend or partner at the beginning of the event. That way you can make sure they have picked up important info like the names of people, who’s with who etc. That will increase their confidence massively if you then wander off to chat to different people.
Agree before you go what will happen if your partner wants to leave. If you’re the life and soul of the party but your other half has had enough of trying to lipread drunk people, have a taxi number to hand so they can escape without you having to go too. You can also agree a phrase which your partner can drop into the conversation at a party that lets you know they’re heading home without making a big deal of it.
Sit on their worse side during any dinner. That way they won’t spend the entire meal worrying they are ignoring anyone on that side. And hopefully you’re well-trained enough to tap them on the shoulder if you want to get their attention.
Give them space. Constant noise is exhausting for people with hearing loss or tinnitus. So they will need to escape for a bit of peace and quiet from time to time. If you’re organising an event, designating one room as a chill-out zone with no music will win you a lot of fans without dampening the party mood.
Don’t complain if your friend/partner is looking at their smart phone. It might seem a bit rude for someone to do that at a party, but there can be good reasons. They might be using an app that makes their mobile into a microphone and either transmits to their hearing aids or converts text to speech. They might be using a tinnitus app that helps soothe the raging noise in their ears. Or they might be using their phone as a break from lip reading, or to get support from a Facebook group.
Let me know in the comments below whether you accepted my challenge, and what the response was. I'd love to know.