Thanksgiving is almost here, friends and family are getting ready for another Thanksgiving together after a long separation, and many are finding out that there have been significant changes with their loved ones. Studies have shown that over 48 million Americans are affected by hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss is closely correlated with diminishing quality of life and increased cases of depression, balance problems, dementia, and cognitive decline. Unfortunately, many adults never seek out treatment unless they receive intervention from family or friends. Many are already expressing excitement and joy at being able to celebrate Thanksgiving gatherings after being separated during the lockdowns. For some, this could be as long as two or three years. This makes it the perfect time to help loved ones who may have been suffering from the onset of hearing loss or a worsening of symptoms. If you are concerned about someone having difficulty dealing with hearing loss during Thanksgiving, you can follow our comprehensive and simple guide to help identify and assist them in participating in Thanksgiving celebrations and finding relief after.
How to Help Loved Ones with Hearing Loss During Thanksgiving
Learn the Tell-Tale Signs of Hearing Loss:
Many people don’t like to talk about problems they are having. Pride, fear, or just not wanting to upset loved ones are a few reasons people with hearing loss try to hide or not talk about the issues they are experiencing. Look for these signs that could indicate that someone you care about is dealing with untreated hearing loss:
• They are having difficulty understanding or following conversations
• They are withdrawn more than usual
• Issues arise when more sounds are present
• Volume levels are unusually high on their devices
• Problems with balance and feeling dizzy
What You Can Do to Help and Assist During the Holidays:
While there is nothing you can do to change the situation, there are many things you can do to help them during the holidays. As the old saying goes, it’s the little things that count!
• Reduce or eliminate background noise
• Stay calm and be patient
• Speak more clearly, not louder
• Avoid face masks, if you must use a face shield instead
• Avoid bad lighting
• Take turns speaking during a conversation
• Stay in eyeshot and move closer to help visual communication
• Use table planning and seat guests based on communication needs
In the end, hearing loss doesn’t have to be a tragedy or a source of family drama. Many who have hearing loss might not realize how bad it has become. The first step is to identify the issues, and then something can be done about it. The advancements in hearing assistance technology and testing can help improve lives significantly; it only takes that first step.