As families come together this festive period many are unaware of the effects hearing loss can have on people trying to enjoy this time of year.
Now the national charity Action on Hearing Loss is advising individuals on how to help loved ones with hearing loss throughout the festive season to ensure the get the most out of social situations.
Despite the charity reporting that 11 million people in the UK are currently living with hearing loss, many are still unaware of how difficult it can be for someone to communicate during a noisy family gathering.
Gemma Twitchen, a senior audiologist at Action on Hearing Loss said: “Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends, but for some with hearing loss it can be an occasion that is dreaded due to the number of events in the social calendar. Groups of people speaking over one another, excited children and Christmas songs being blasted can make it difficult for some with hearing loss to communicate and feel involved in the celebrations. This may lead to feelings of embarrassment, frustration and isolation for some.
“We would also urge anyone who is concerned about their relative’s or friend’s hearing to encourage them to take our free hearing check – Take the check! - Action On Hearing Loss: RNID”
Action on Hearing Loss is now encouraging individuals and their families to take a number of easy steps to avoid excluding loved ones with hearing loss: During Christmas dinner - find them a good spot at a table that would work for them. While you might want to show your respect by sitting them at a head of the table, being in the middle might be more convenient. However, if they are lip readers being at the top will allow them to see more faces; Sit them next to someone who is patient and ready to make that extra effort to involve them in conversation; Keep the background noise down if possible; turning the music off during dinner and keeping it low the rest of the time; Keep the space well lit; Remove large decorations and centrepieces from the table, as they might interfere with lip reading; When talking to someone with hearing loss make sure you face them and don’t cover your mouth; Speak slowly and clearly and be ready to repeat or rephrase if necessary; Be aware - if you see someone with a hearing loss being quiet, check that they can follow the conversation.
For more information and advice on dealing with hearing loss this Christmas visit the Action on Hearing Loss website.