This Christmas will see families and friends unite to celebrate the festive season. Smiles shared and hugs exchanged, it is a time to connect and spending quality time with others. Yet this period of festivities can be a time of isolation for many.
Recent research conducted by Specsavers found that 79 per cent of people admit they often feel left out because of their hearing difficulties.
For those who cannot meet in person this Christmas, phone and video calls are another way people stay connected during the holidays. Yet Specsavers research found that 22 per cent of people believe their hearing is poor and struggle with hearing someone speak on the phone and 81 per cent of those with hearing issues have missed their phone ringing entirely. That’s why, this Christmas, Specsavers is on hand to provide some helpful top tips about how to stay connected.
Specsavers Ireland Audiology Chairperson, Martina McNulty, who is based in Letterkenny, says: “People with hearing loss often rely on face-to-face interaction with family, friends, and neighbours but if this experience is disrupted in any way, it can cause real difficultly in communication and often lead to isolation and loneliness.”
“It’s important to consider the difficulties that people with hearing loss may experience in trying to communicate with you and make sure to make inclusive adjustments.”
Ms McNulty is offering the following advice, so that you can help those with hearing loss still feel connected this Christmas:
Speak slowly and clearly
The best way to have a successful conversation is by speaking slowly and clearly but in a natural manner. It is also important to avoid shouting, as this can distort the sound of speech making it more difficult to understand. It is also a good idea to pause a little longer between sentences or phrases, making sure that you have been understood before continuing.
Be aware of your environment
It can be difficult to understand conversation in loud and busy environments, such as Christmas dinner. Be mindful of whether you are standing next to a noisy kitchen, if there is music or a television programme blaring in the background, or if others in your household are also talking. Try to move to a quieter room if possible. When allocating place settings at the dinner table, try place those with hearing difficulties in the centre so that they can have clear access to people and have the option of lipreading. Sitting with a back against the wall can also help reduce background noises.
Setting up more than one room for the family and friends to gather in, such as a quiet sitting room, can also be a way to ensure people have the option to talk in a quieter setting.
Patience is also key when having conversations. People with hearing loss can often feel frustrated if they aren’t able to follow or miss parts of sentences, so it is important to keep this in mind if they are asking you to repeat yourself.
Connect hearing aids to other devices
Many hearing aids now have the technological capabilities to connect to smartphones, TVs and other devices around the house, acting like wireless headphones for clear and easy streaming of sound. Using this technology, wearers can make hands-free calls and will find it easier to listen to and watch their favourite television programmes, which can certainly help when they are unable to leave the house.
The hearing centre at Specsavers Letterkenny is open seven days a week for screenings and repairs. Our Audiology clinic for hearing tests and hearing aid fittings is open Monday – Saturday and our wax removal clinics are Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Did you know you can now get €1000 towards hearing aids with PRSI if you are eligible? for more information or to make an appointment with one of the team, please call 074 9167040, or visit www.specsavers.ie/stores/letterkenny-hearing.
Specsavers Hearing Centre in Donegal Town is also open for wax removals and hearings tests every Monday, Thursday and Friday. Book via telephone number is (074) 974 2686 or online https://www.specsavers.ie/stores/donegaltown