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What to expect over the holidays if you’re deaf

hearing loss over the holidays

The build-up to the winter holidays is an exciting time, but for those with hearing loss we often go through the same situations each year.

Luckily these challenging situations can be quite humorous so we can laugh it off. Here are some situations that I regularly encounter each holiday season, and how I deal with it:

Christmas Shopping

No matter if you’re uber-organized or left your shopping until the last minute, every trip is the same for deaf people! When it comes to paying for something, all we want to do is pay and go. For some reason or another, the shop assistants always have 101 questions for us to answer!

Those like… “Have you got a loyalty card?”,  “would you like to sign up for one?”, or “do you need a bag?”, when it’s often clear that we have one! I suppose we could declare our hearing loss, but in reality, it would take longer to explain, for the shop assistants to understand and apply deaf-awareness to it…

Often, we end up nodding our heads, but that often results in another question or an answer which we didn’t mean to agree to! #awkward or what?

Playing charades

Have you ever seen a deaf person trying to play charades? It’s great that we may have an advantage over body language and thinking of actions quickly. It’s not easy if we struggle to hear the answers being shouted out, or hearing what the other contestants have called out… which results in us being 10 minutes behind when someone has already won! Thanks for telling us!

Or, if there are some sneaky sign language users in your family… just watch out when they play charades! I’ve tried myself and it’s so hard to play without trying to use signs! Often resulted in my boyfriend guessing all the answers, to my family’s surprise! 

The totally deaf-friendly Christmas present

We’ve all received a Christmas present that is appreciated, but unable to use as of our hearing loss! I’ve had a radio, headphones, CDs of bands that I can’t hear the vocals of! I love the moment after where you’re trying to show your appreciation, but holding back the questioning of how am I going to use it?! (Doesn’t help to have your parents trying not to laugh in the background!)

Subtitles on the TV

Festive TV and movies are the best, but with deafness comes subtitles! There’s always one remote-hugger, who you have to kindly drop the words “do you mind turning the subtitles on?”. It then takes them ages to figure out where the subtitle button is, by now we’ve missed out half of the program. Why not let the expert do it for you?

And the moment when they identify the button and feel like a whiz for doing it, when you smile awkwardly and reply “thanks…!”

Visiting Santa

I always remember as a child, going to see Santa was one of the best things about Christmas. When you’re younger, it doesn’t really occur that Santa has a huge, white beard which for a lip-reader is impossible to understand! I guess I just had a feeling he knew what everyone wanted anyway, so it didn’t matter!


There’s never been a time where I’ve been more proud to be deaf, than when the odd family member who cannot sing, decides to pick up the microphone during a Karaoke session! There’s nothing better than switching your hearing aids off and laughing whilst watching the rest of the family’s pained facial expressions as they try to hit the high notes!

Family members you haven’t seen in ages

Christmas time is when the family all comes together, sometimes it’s the only time of the year when you see certain family members. It’s all happy and loveable when reuniting but ultimately, they often forget how to communicate with you! Either they’re nattering on without realizing you can’t hear them or they’re speaking and shouting at you like you’re still 5 years old… do you let them carry on or kindly explain to them to speak normally!?

Read more: Easy tips to survive family gatherings if you have hearing loss

There’s always one person that mentions they know someone who’s deaf and thinks I will know them too. Or they tell me that their dog is deaf as a comparison.

Author Details
Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak Sky Q hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn’t prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, previously working as a Marketing Executive and now as an Events Coordinator for a deaf organization, as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.