10 Tips to Support Loved Ones with Speech and Hearing Difficulties during the Holidays

The holidays are an important time to share with family and friends. We look forward to sharing meals and memories. For those with speech and hearing difficulties, the holidays can be a source of frustration and isolation. Learn more about how to support your loved one with speech and hearing difficulties to support connection and joy during the holiday season.

10 Tips to Get You Started

1. Reduce Background Noise

2. Give your loved one extra time to process information and respond

3. Provide your loved one with additional details if needed

4. Get comfortable during the quiet pauses

5. Maintain engagement

6. Offer a friendly smile

7. Use responsive listening

8. Use reflective listening

9. Focus on familiar topics or mutual interests

10. Reiterate how much you enjoy your loved one being a part of your celebration

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Noise and Distractions

Multiple conversations and music or television are common sources of background noise. This extra auditory input can impact attention, working memory, and auditory perception. Reduce background noise if possible, or have conversation in areas with fewer distractions to minimize communication breakdowns.

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Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is a communication technique focused on understanding a speaker's thoughts and feelings and then paraphrasing or reflecting them back to the speaker. During large or loud family gatherings, engaging in reflective listening carves out spaces for everyone to feel heard, understood, and included.

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Focus on the Familiar

Your loved one may find ease in communicating about familiar stories, shared experiences, or family history. Support the conversation by adding details, sharing photos, or inviting others to join in.

It's All About Showing the Love

For our loved ones who struggle with hearing and speech challenges, the holiday festivities can sometimes create deep feelings of frustration and isolation. Understanding and supporting our loved ones facing such hurdles becomes pivotal in fostering genuine connection and spreading the essence of joy during this special time of year.