The Women's Journal

Hear Well For The Holidays

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By Catherine M Marino, Au.D.


Holiday activities such as family gatherings, dinners, religious services, and phone calls, offer many opportunities to connect with family and friends and should be fulfilling experiences. However, for people with hearing loss, these events may be stressful because of challenging listening environments. Here are some steps to help ensure your ability to be an active participant in all the activities that you love.

Start with an Audiological Evaluation:

There is no better way to understand your hearing capability than by having your hearing assessed by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist will take a careful case history to learn more about your hearing, medical conditions, family history, noise exposure and medications. Most hearing losses have a nonmedical origin. If your test results qualify you as a candidate for hearing aids or assistive listening devices, the audiologist will begin to develop a hearing treatment plan that is customized to your needs.

Listening Needs Assessment

The listening needs assessment begins the selection process by identifying the situations that are most important for you to hear better in. Lifestyle and priorities are considered to find a hearing solution that covers all your most important activities.

Special Hearing Needs for the Holidays

The hustle and bustle of the holidays present unique listening situations. For instance, are you hearing well in single person conversations, but then lose the conversation when there is a group talking all at once? At the dining table, can you hear what the people near you are saying? Do you travel by car to your celebrations and have difficulty hearing what is said during the trip? Is phone usage critical for communicating with family members that live far away? Don’t let another year go by without satisfactory solutions.

Hearing Aid Demonstration

There are many different manufacturers of hearing instruments. They all have special features available to help you hear your best in noisy and challenging situations. How do you know which is best for you? As mentioned, the listening needs assessment will direct the audiologist toward pre-selecting hearing aids that have the special features you need. The hearing aids will then be programmed for you so that you can listen for yourself and determine which devices sound best and are most suitable for your individual needs. There are also live demonstrations available so you can hear how the features of the hearing aids work in different sound environments. Since you are making an investment toward your future hearing, it is best to acknowledge all your important needs in order to plan a comprehensive solution.

Trial Period

The final analysis and determination of satisfaction comes once you purchase the hearing devices and start using them in your everyday and special situations. The trial period is the beginning of the treatment process. The first few weeks can be likened to using training wheels. Your hearing system is still wobbly and unsure of all the many sounds that you are beginning to hear anew. You need to retrain your auditory system and brain to become aware of and sort all the sounds before you can focus on what you want to hear and make sense of it. For this reason, it is always best to start in quiet listening situations before progressing to the more demanding ones.

We schedule regular follow-up appointments during the trial period to ensure your satisfaction. This allows us to make any necessary changes. If you are not satisfied with the hearing instruments within the 30-day trial period, you may return the devices for your money back or credit toward a different set of hearing aids.

The Riddle Experience

The audiologists at Riddle Hospital share the same goals that you do – to help you hear your best to live life fully.

Catherine M. Marino, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology/Director

Jessica M. Bell, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology

Denise E. Stewart, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

Lisa C. Mackenzie, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

For an appointment with a Riddle Hospital audiologist, call 484.227.3200 or visit