Holiday Coping With Tinnitus Hyperacusis or Hearing Loss

The holiday season can be a difficult time for people with hearing loss, tinnitus, or hyperacusis. The hustle and bustle and crowded social events can make T-H flare-up, and make it hard to understand conversations (this is true even for people with T and “normal” hearing).  This increases fatigue and stress that makes holiday coping with tinnitus, hyperacusis, or hearing loss much harder.

Here are a few suggestions for your friends, family or loved ones:

  • Be supportive during what can be a stressful noisy time.
  • If possible, let the person with HL and T-H decide if they want background music or sounds on. Let them set the loudness.
  • Plan a refuge area in a quiet dim room away from the hustle and bustle so that people with HL and T-H can take a break if they need to.
  • Be understanding if someone has significant hyperacusis and needs to wear filtered earplugs during social gatherings or events.  They can still hear, it just makes it more comfortable. These earplugs are also called social, high definition, or musician’s earplugs. They start around $20 online for premolded. Hearing health clinics offer custom molded filtered earplugs at up to $200, but they last about 5 years and custom fit the wearer.
  • Use communication strategies to help in difficult listening situations. This might include:
    • Speak face-to-face or from close by (not from another room or while walking away.)
    • Speak clearly and precisely, emphasizing key words and pausing between phrases and sentences. For example, “Tha shiplef ona twoweecruise.” becomes “The ship left on a  two week cruise.”
    • Get our attention before talking (e.g. say our name or gently touch our arm).
    • Be aware background noise makes it harder to understand. Move to a quieter area to talk if you need to.
    • If you’re going out, try to pick a quiet place with no or very low piped in music. Use apps like SoundPrint to help you find quiet restaurants or other locations.
  • Use the so called French Exit for larger gatherings. Why ghosting a party is the right thing to do.
  • When you can, use music to lower stress and anxiety. Anti-anxiety playlist proven by neuroscience.
  • This 1 hour version of a song from the playlist – Marconi Union, Weightless – was voted most relaxing song ever. YouTube also has 2 hour and 10 hour versions for soothing sound anytime.

For everyone with HL and T-H, have reasonable expectations of what you can do. Try not to feel like you have to do everything, go everywhere, or please everybody. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves. It’s the best way to improve holiday coping with tinnitus, hyperacusis, or hearing loss.

Wishing you all the best, and a peaceful holiday season to everyone. Jan

[Feature Photo by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash]

avatar

Jan L. Mayes

Eric Hoffer Award winning author, audiologist, blogger, noise activist, bookworm, playing with words.

6 thoughts on “Holiday Coping With Tinnitus Hyperacusis or Hearing Loss”

  1. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for sharing your concerns regarding vaping and hearing problem.

    In fact, I just got my hearing loss since last week and I am now being under medical treatment. I am now really worry about my hearing healthy if it can go back to normal or I do not know….

    I started vaping since 2016 with 50/50 pg and vg. Later on, I mixed my own juice with 70vg/30pg. I think PG will be the cause of hearing loss based on my own experience.

    In case you want to do your own mix/ejuice you can purchase the FDA approved from liquid barn below, the best ones. https://www.liquidbarn.com/

    Please can you help to let me know which music that enable your hearing back.

    Thanks a lot.

    Best,
    Will

    1. Hi William, I’m sorry the PG might have caused hearing loss for you too. I don’t think my hearing is totally back. The music was more for coping with my tinnitus and hyperacusis that got a lot worse after vaping with PG. They’re better now so the sound therapy did help my hearing system become less hyperactive. I listen to whatever’s comfortable and relaxing at a comfortable volume always less than 50% for personal listening (sometimes it’s heavy metal for me!). There are also specific relaxation sound types that are popular, e.g. free app Calm has some nice no percussion music. White/pink/brown noise are also useful and easy to tune out (e.g. White Noise app, myNoise website/app; I use coloured noise for sleep. Also just found a track voted ‘most relaxing song ever’. It comes in different lengths 1 hour, 2 hour, 10 hour on YouTube. The longer one could be good for sleep on a SmartTV or compatible device. It’s called Weightless by Marconi Union. Hope your hearing returns to where it was. Kind regards, Jan

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