Samantha Randels, Bountiful Hearing Center

I think we can all agree that we need a little extra holiday spirit this year. Needless to say, 2020 did not turn out the way anyone expected it to. The coronavirus pandemic has brought out many emotions in us: fear, anxiety, frustration and most of all loneliness. The holidays are supposed to be a time filled with love, family and friends, but for those suffering from any level of hearing loss the holidays can be difficult and lonely.

Social isolation is something many have experienced this year. There are those with hearing loss who suffer from this feeling of isolation every day, with or without a pandemic to make things worse. The good news is that those feelings of loneliness can be significantly diminished with the help of a hearing aid. Most audiologists suggest a baseline audiological evaluation if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves or speak louder or slowly
  • Difficulty understanding others in noisy environments
  • Turning the volume up high on your television or smartphone
  • Struggling to understand certain voices (women, children, deep voices, etc.)
  • A sudden drop in hearing

Another symptom that has become quite significant this year is if you find yourself unable to understand others who are wearing masks. Masks naturally mute our voices a little, but it is very possible that you have unknowingly been depending on lip reading to understand those around you. By covering our mouths, many have discovered that their hearing problems are more significant than they thought!

Despite the assumption that you only lose your hearing when you are older, hearing loss can affect you at any age. Hearing is affected by excessive noises (such as fireworks, guns, motorcycles, machinery, etc.) as well as health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and hypertension, to name a few. Diminished hearing occurs gradually, meaning we may not notice the signs until we are older. The sooner you can identify loss, the easier it is to manage it!

Let’s face it—this has been a very long, very hard year. We all look forward to the holidays with our families to get a break from the craziness of the world today. No matter how you spend your holidays—isolated at home or with a small group of close family—make sure you don’t miss a moment. Call an audiologist to schedule a hearing test if you have not had your hearing tested within the last 1-2 years. If you have hearing aids already, make sure you get them cleaned and checked so you can hear every single jingle bell. Happy Holidays!