It’s the holiday season, which means you are probably filling your cart (virtual or real) with plenty of gifts. If you have hearing loss in Houston, those shopping excursions can be even more stressful than they already are. We have some tips to make shopping for the hearing-impaired easier.
How to Brave the Aisles Without Losing Your Cool
Shopping: you either love it or tolerate it. Between crowded aisles, grumpy cashiers and noisy malls, it can be a real experience (we’re being diplomatic here). When you’ve got hearing loss, it’s even more difficult to find the joy in heading out and facing the crowds. But with a little advance planning, your trip should go smoothly. Or at least won’t be quite as maddening.
Shopping Tips for People with Hearing Loss
Your Houston audiologist recommends the following:
Support mom-and-pop shops
Small business is the cornerstone of the local economy. Shopping locally provides a boost to the economy and is less stressful for those with hearing loss. Big box retailers often have screaming deals, but also, screaming kids – not to mention store layouts featuring open spaces and poor acoustics. Plus, larger stores attract more people, which only adds to your stress and discomfort. Smaller, locally-owned stores tend to be less crowded— and easier on your ears.
Take advantage of hearing loops
If you wear hearing aids, turn on the telecoil mode to take advantage of loop induction systems that are commonly found in many public places, including department stores and shopping malls. Hearing loops broadcast clear sound free of distraction directly to your hearing aids, eliminating background noise and making it easier for you to hear. Most retailers with loop systems will display the international symbol of access for hearing loss on a window or door. If you don’t see a sign, ask a clerk or store manager if there is a loop system available.
Use a streaming device
Portable streaming devices make your hearing aids more efficient and lightweight by increasing their battery life and eliminating the need for a receiver. When you’re bogged down with bags full of hot-off-the-shelf deals, every ounce matters! Streamers help prevent you from getting too tired and also eliminate distracting background noise, enabling you to hear more clearly.
Plan out your trip in advance
Come up with a game plan before setting out from home. Map out the stores you are planning on hitting so you can get in and out as quickly as possible. It also helps to study the store layout, so you’ll know exactly where to go once you get there. Bring along a friend or family member to assist with communication efforts and let you know about any important announcements over the loudspeakers. You can always bribe them with a cinnamon roll if they seem reluctant! Make sure your hearing aid batteries have plenty of juice before heading out (bring along extras just in case).
If you simply can’t stomach the thought of venturing out and battling crowds and noise while trying to find a parking spot that isn’t in the back 40, you can avoid the hassle and shop from the comfort of your own home instead. Nowadays, you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for online and have it delivered to your front door. Doesn’t get more convenient than that, does it?
For more tips on dealing with hearing loss out in public, give your Houston audiologist a call.