As the holidays approach, social gatherings and dinners with family members become a far more prominent—and important—aspect of the season. “Each year, new memories are created that can’t be substituted or re-created,” said Peter J. Marincovich, Ph.D., CCC-A of Audiology Associates “And as the years go on, these memories become more and more precious.” To avoid missing out on the types of conversations with loved ones that only happen a few times a year, Dr. Marincovich has offered up five tips to get the most out of your ears and hearing aids this holiday season.
1. Work out your ears—and your brain.
Research shows that musicians are better able to pick out voices amid background noise than people who don’t play music, but it is possible for anyone to learn these processes. Part of this is because of “brain fitness,” the idea that listening to music can help sharpen hearing. “The listener’s natural inclination is to pay attention to fluctuations of notes, which improves some aspects of hearing and helps to differentiate certain vocal tones from other sounds,” says Dr. Marincovich. Just be careful with earbuds, and listen to music at a safe level of volume.
2. Dine strategically.
Don’t let fear of hearing loss disrupt your social life; loss of consistent communication with others affects hearing, but remaining social sharpens those skills. “Don’t be afraid to remind family that you have difficulty hearing,” Dr. Marincovich says. “Try sitting at the end of a table so there aren’t multiple conversations that are difficult to follow. If possible, dining in a smaller group would also help a listener focus in on a conversation.”
3. Have your hearing aids serviced.
Make an appointment to get your hearing equipment checked and cleaned prior to gatherings. Often small adjustments or software installations can make a difference in how you hear.
4. Pack your accessories.
If there’s no time to schedule a cleaning prior to your holiday gathering, packing extra batteries, a cleaning kit for your aids, or even an extra set of hearing aids is a great idea just to stay prepared.
5. Consider investing in new technology.
If you were fitted for your hearing aid(s) a few years ago, there may be a much more advanced option available now, Dr. Marincovich says. “Even a base model today may offer significant improvements in acoustics and features over higher-end models from a few years ago. These advances can make a huge difference in people’s lives without putting pressure on their wallets.”
For more information on improving your hearing for the holidays, contact Audiology Associates.