The holidays can be stressful for everyone. This is especially true for families with a member suffering from hearing loss. Awkward pauses, frequent repeating, and “what?” are constant struggles these families face that deters communication.   If your loved one hasn’t gotten hearing aids, there are some simple steps you can take this year that will reduce these problems your family is having during conversations:

Don’t repeat it, say it in a longer way. Rephrasing your sentence can give a little background to help the listener.  They also get more time to process the conversation. Remember, the mind has to work harder when a person has hearing loss so there may be a slight gap between when they respond to you. By rephrasing, you give the person a moment to catch up and let them in the conversation without feeling like an annoyance.

Address your loved one by name before speaking. Grab their attention beforehand so they can prepare to listen. It seems simple, but these two steps can help a loved one avoid an awkward “what?” moment. Keep distance from noise. If at all possible, stay away from noisy or distracting places in the house (such as the kitchen after dinner).

Lower noise in the house if possible. Turn down the music and television a notch from where you usually would. This helps the follow conversations more easily.

Face them while you’re talking. Body language and facial expressions are important in communication, and it’s important to give your loved one these social cues. Positioning yourself to be seen helps them (or yourself) from communicating. This also helps with lip reading, for those with a severe hearing loss.

Have your loved one sit at the end of the table so they can see everyone. These are all great ways to open up your communication. But what everyone should do they have a loved one with hearing loss is to encourage them to get their hearing tested. These are the golden years of your loved one’s life and they should be enjoying it, not fretting about their hearing or forcing everyone else to be their personal hearing aid.