Tackling the Thanksgiving Meal

When we think of holiday stress we often think of travel, making the perfect meal, and playing host to an abundance of family and friends. For those with a hearing loss there can be even more stress associated with the holidays. The holiday season is about sharing, laughter, and communicating with your loved ones. Gatherings can often be crowded and present with excessive background noise - making it difficult to hear, even for those with perfect hearing.

Here at SOUND we want to help alleviate that holiday communication stress with some tips for optimizing the Thanksgiving table!

1.  Seating arrangements matter: Try to position yourself with a wall behind you, toward the middle of the table. This position reduces background noise and gives you a good visual of all conversing at the table. 

2.  Reduce background noise: If you're playing host this Thanksgiving, try to keep background music to a minimum, and if you are going over to someone else's house feel free to ask for the tunes to be turned down to allow for better communication with everyone at the table. 

3.  Talk to your neighbor: At the dinner table talk to the people to the left, right, or in front of you. Don’t try to participate in conversations across large distances, instead, make your way around the table getting closer to your conversational partner. 

4.  Wear your hearing aids: You knew this one was coming! If you have a diagnosed hearing loss and have been prescribed hearing aids, make sure to wear them to the big day. Check in with your audiologist before the holiday for any last minute fine tuning to make sure you are hearing to the best of your abilities.

5.  Take a break: Giving your brain and ears a rest can be just the extra power you need to last through the evening of conversation. Take a break in the restroom, stand outside, or go help tidy up the dishes in the kitchen. You'll be amazed how much help a little listening break can provide. 

6. Share with others: Don't shy away from telling others about your hearing loss. You might be surprised who else at the table is having difficulties with following along with the conversation. This extra discussion can bring you closer together, and help others understand some of the difficulties of a loud environment. 

We'd love to hear your holiday tips as well! Everyone has their own ways of best communicating with others during the holidays! Most of all, have fun, enjoy your company, and share some fun stories with us during your next visit!


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!