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The holiday season is here, and with it come office parties, dinner parties, family gatherings, and trips to the shops. It’s truly one of the busiest times of the year, with constant social activity and conversation. What’s more, the environment at these gatherings can get pretty loud!
For those with hearing issues, background noise is one of the most difficult things to navigate. As the ambient sound gets louder, it becomes more difficult to focus on the sound we want to hear. While this is true even for those with normal hearing, hearing loss makes the difficulty much worse.
Accommodating Hearing Loss
Something we should all keep in mind during this time is that our older friends and relatives are likely to have some hearing issues. Hearing loss is experienced by two-thirds of people aged 70 and over, and by about 100% of centenarians. If you have hearing loss yourself, be sure to let others know about it so they can accommodate you appropriately.
There are a few things we can do to help the situation and make sure our holiday festivities are enjoyable for everyone.
- Minimize background noise as much as possible. Keep the television volume low, or turn it off. If you’re playing music on a stereo, keep the volume down so it doesn’t compete with the volume of conversation. If you are setting places at a dinner table, seat those with hearing issues further away from any sources of noise.
- Speak a little more slowly and clearly, but don’t raise your voice. Shouting can cause distortion, which makes speech even less intelligible.
- Instead of repeating something for a person with hearing loss, try saying it a different way. This provides more context to aid in understanding.
- Face a person with hearing loss directly, and make sure they know what the topic of conversation is. Even if they don’t catch everything, this can help them follow along and continue to be part of the conversation.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you are starting to have issues with hearing, even just when background noise is present, the holiday season is a good time to make an appointment for a hearing test and find out whether you’re a good candidate for hearing aids.
Study after study confirms that hearing loss is best treated early, before changes in our lives—and in our brains—start to set in. Even mild hearing loss can be associated with memory issues and fatigue, so keep in mind that beginning treatment for hearing loss before the holidays are in full swing can make your experience that much more enjoyable.
Modern Hearing Aids
Hearing aids today are much more helpful and full-featured than ever before. Powerful DSP (digital signal processing) allows hearing aids to enhance speech while suppressing background noise. This makes it much easier to follow conversations with much less effort.
Beyond that, hearing aids now commonly feature Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect your hearing aids to your smartphone to stream the audio from phone calls, video conferences, and media directly to your hearing aids, and also control the volume, programming, and other aspects of your hearing aids directly from an app.
You can also connect via Bluetooth to computers, tablets, and other devices to stream content the same as you do with your smartphone. If you’re connecting with distant friends and relatives over the holidays, this can make your time with them much easier and more enjoyable.
Hearing Aid Add-Ons
While hearing aids alone may be enough for some, most manufacturers make wireless microphones that can connect directly to your hearing aids. You can place one of these at the other end of a dinner table, for example, to make sure you can hear the conversation clearly throughout the room.
All manufacturers also make a TV adapter that can connect to the audio outputs of a television or stereo system, allowing wireless streaming of content directly to your hearing aids. If you’re watching television or a movie at home with your family, you’ll be able to set the volume comfortably for yourself, directly in your hearing aids, so others can listen at the volume that’s comfortable for them.
If you or a loved one may require hearing amplification, make an appointment for a hearing test today and help make this a holiday season to remember! Contact us at Kenwood Hearing Centers today.