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Christmas can exacerbate hearing loss

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As you gather with friends and family this holiday season, not everyone at the party may be able to hear your funny banter. Hearing loss is very common as we get older and it is also a very sensitive topic.

“The more you ignore hearing loss, it could lead to feelings of isolation and depression in many cases,” says audiologist Grace Shing.

Half of us will experience noticeable hearing loss as we age. She says you’ll really notice it in loud rooms, when there are many voices and other background noises – like at Christmas.

If you know someone is having problems hearing, she suggests you make eye contact and speak clearly. “Shouting is not necessary because that just distorts your voice.”

Shing claims it doesn’t help that Canadians are mumblers. “We tend to drop our voices when we get to the end of a sentence. We tend to speak quite quickly. We tend not to enunciate.”

With some tact she says you can bring up the idea of a hearing aid to your relatives.  Shing adds they may need a friendly push in the right direction, “Imagine being in a room where you’re unable to hear what other people are saying. If someone makes a joke, you’ll miss the punchline. You will no longer feel part of the group.”

You can help by keeping the background noise and music to a minimum. Also, reduce the sound of clattering dishes with a tablecloth or placemats. Seat people with hearing loss so they are backing onto a quiet, open space. Make a quiet area available where anyone may take a break from a boisterous gathering.