The fresh smell of evergreen trees, flurries turning our world into a snow globe, warm hot chocolate, and visiting loved ones, THIS is holiday season. The holidays are among the most joyful time of year, but did you know that someone suffering from hearing loss may be feeling disconnected and alone, even surrounded by friends and family? Noisy parties and mealtimes can make it even more difficult to hide hearing loss.

Listed below are some tips to help keep your loved ones with hearing loss close this holiday season:

  • Be Attentive: If a friend or family member is being quiet, they may be having trouble hearing.
  • Turn Down the Volume: Consider keep the television and radio off or volume tuned down during meal time or visiting.
  • Keep the Room Well Lit: The ability to see facial expressions and the mouths of those speaking can make it easier for those suffering to hearing loss to remain part of the conversation.
  • Speak Clearly: Do your best to speak slowly and at a comfortable level. Project your voice, but don’t shout.
  • Rephrase: Often people repeat themselves if someone did not hear them. Instead of repeating, try rephrasing. This helps the individual follow the conversation more accurately because it may be a particular word or sound of speech that they are having trouble deciphering.
  • Face the Person: Facing the person you are talking to makes it easier to hear, this also allows them to see your mouth and facial expressions.

During the holidays, shopping for the perfect gift for our children is always on the task list. Often times children with hearing loss or hearing aids may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, which can be a bad feeling for just about anyone. There are many great gift ideas to ensure that any child with hearing loss is feeling confident and comfortable, it is important to make children feel like they are not alone.

A Birthday For Ben by Kate Gaynor and Karen Quirke is about a 7-year-old boy who wears hearing aids. Ben speaks and also uses sign language. It’s Ben’s birthday party, and to be sure that nobody feels left out, there are games that children who speak and children who sign can play. Ben has the best birthday party ever! (…)

Hear Bear Discovers a World of Sound by David and Brooke Sawyer is distributed by Siemens Hearing Instruments. It is about a bear who has trouble hearing, he goes to the ear doctor and the audiologist. He gets hearing aids and is able to hear everything! (…)

Elana’s Ears by Gloria Lowell is written for siblings of children with hearing loss. It is about a sister who is determined to be a best friend and helper for her sister with hearing loss. (…)

Along with books, there are decorations for hearing aids that can help boost self-esteem of children wearing hearing aids. Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms carries decorative jewelry for hearing aids that are made by a young girl who did not want to hide her hearing aids. Boys might like Tube Riders, trucks and balls that can be easily attached to earmold tubing, or Ear Gear, which comes in lots of colors. Colored ear molds are fun and allow children to pick their own color and wear their hearing aids with pride. American Girl dolls, My Twinn dolls, and Build-a-Bear all have the option to wear custom hearing aids. Having a favorite doll or bear that shares the same hearing aids as a child allows the child to not feel alone.