(516) 872-8485 www.HearingCenterofLI.com
Long Island Sound
The Greatest Gift of All
Every holiday season, my wife and I see my family for Christmas Eve. My mother spends hours in the kitchen, preparing a sumptuous feast for the big group in attendance. We enjoy the delicious food as we chat and catch up on each other’s busy lives. Before the meal it is my job to say grace, a task I do not take lightly. I always make sure to prepare a little for this occasion to make it as meaningful as possible. My three nephews are now in junior high school, high school, and college. I like to discuss this with them ahead of time and give a few prompts to get them thinking of something to add to the prayer before the meal. My mom always worries I am going to go on too long, and says so … every year. I do my best not to keep everyone away from the food for too long, but it means a lot to me to be able to spend at least a few minutes reflecting on those things we are most grateful for, the meaning of the holiday season, and remembering those who are no longer with us, while recognizing the contributions of those who still are. After the meal we exchange a few presents, but with my nephews growing up, gifts have taken a backseat during the holidays. I think as most people get older they begin to value experiences more than possessions and get more out of giving than receiving. I know that is true for me. I am sure many of my readers would agree that the greatest gift of all is not something any of us can buy
but the opportunity to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Throughout my years of experience with patients, I have found that the holiday season can be a challenging time for people who struggle with hearing loss. As families gather together, oftentimes those with hearing loss have the impulse to withdraw, to avoid the frustration of hearing difficulty. Since inadequate hearing can make connecting with loved ones difficult and frustrating, it is common to want to retreat from such interactions. In turn, family members may not understand the barriers to communication you face every day and may perceive you as a Grinch. In reality, you may be frustrated with repeated miscommunications and the burden hearing loss puts on both you and your loved ones. It saddens me to see someone finding it difficult to communicate with the people they care about most, especially during the holiday season. If you are among those who tend to withdraw from family gatherings, know that it does not have to be that way. While it may not be possible to restore your hearing to perfection, with proper assistance and communication strategies you can learn to engage in those important conversation more effectively and enjoy connecting with friends and loved ones. If you are a friend or family member of someone who suffers from hearing difficulty, please be patient with them and try to understand
Dr. Larry in the holiday spirit.
their predicament. Simple things like speaking more slowly, facing the listener, and trying to avoid background noise can help a lot. I assure you, they would like nothing better than to converse freely with you. This time of the year is meant to be spent with the people we care about most, and it makes me appreciate the work I get to do every day. If I can help one person overcome their hearing loss and enjoy the holidays more, then I have done my job. The privilege to serve my wonderful patients will be on my mind this Christmas as I sit with my family and cherish all the incredible opportunities we have been given.
–We’re listening to you.®
–Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
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