TAKING TIME TO CELEBRATE

December 5, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I won’t hide it: I love the holidays! I feel like people are different at this time of year. The fact that everyone is focused on the same event creates a festive atmosphere that can’t be found in other seasons. On the street, at the grocery store, people smile and wish each other happy holidays. Isn’t it beautiful?

In my family, the holiday season has always been magical because we have many traditions. I take so much pleasure in cooking good dishes for my loved ones and seeing them enjoy the meal around a large table. Once the dinner is over, the dishes give way to games that always come with lots of laughs. For hours on end, we have fun and just take the time to be together. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to interact with people we haven’t seen for a long time and create lasting memories.

While I make the most of these beautiful family moments, I also enjoy the days when we’re free as birds. During those days spent relaxing in front of the fireplace, we really enjoy the moment (and, let’s face it, a few cookies on the way!). I like that we take the time, during the cold season, to gather together and share precious moments.

Supporting Our Loved Ones

I am aware that the many holiday gatherings where people talk, laugh, sing and play can require more concentration and greater listening effort for some people. That’s why I would like us to give a gift to people with hearing loss this holiday season. Let’s be aware that following many discussions in a festive environment can be a challenge for them. We should try to put ourselves in their shoes.

Through personal experience, I’ve found that some techniques can make understanding easier for people with hearing loss. Here are a few that I would like to share with you:

  • When you talk to someone with hearing loss, I recommend you face them so they can read your lips.
  • Since understanding speech in noise is more difficult, I suggest you hold your conversations a little off to the side, where there is enough lighting to allow lipreading.
  • Hearing-impaired people tend to stay away from discussions, as they don’t always understand speech in noise. Make sure to involve them in your conversations. They will appreciate being included.
  • If music is a big part of your evenings, plan breaks to allow everyone to chat in a quieter environment.

Here is another recommendation that I really like to put into practice: why don’t you visit your loved ones who have hearing loss during the holidays? If you visit them in small groups, following conversations will be easier for them. I remember that when my mother-in-law’s hearing started to decline, we always made sure to visit her after family reunions, to have lunch with her for example. She really appreciated this attention since it allowed her to be more involved in the conversations.

Enjoying Moments Together

If you have hearing loss, I understand how you may feel. You want to party and have fun, but you probably have trouble following conversations.

Over the years, my children have developed techniques to help them understand conversations in noisy environments. Here are some recommendations that I would like to share:

  • Try sitting next to someone who is aware of your situation. They will be more inclined to repeat parts of the conversations for you. This way, you make sure you’re able to follow most of the discussions.
  • I invite you to be lenient with yourself. It doesn’t matter if you miss a few snatches of conversation. Don’t blame yourself. You will always have the opportunity to ask questions later. Don’t put the pressure to understand everything on yourself. Have fun and enjoy these beautiful moments with your loved ones!

On a funnier note, I also suggest you limit your conversations with Santa Claus. With his big beard, it’s not easy to read his lips and talk with him. Fortunately, he has a beautiful deep voice that’s easier to understand!

The holiday season is a time for sharing. Of course, we think about sharing gifts, but it’s also a great opportunity to share good times with people we don’t see as often as we would like. I invite you to keep in mind the few tips listed above so that everyone can partake in the festivities!

I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!