There is no doubt this time of year is a feast for the senses. From the smell of sugar cookies baking to the warmth of a crackling fire to twinkling lights adorning houses everywhere, the spirit of the season abounds. But let’s not forget about our hearing; what would the holiday season be without some of the iconic sounds that mark the festivities and get us in the mood to celebrate with friends and family?

Whether celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve, this time of year can be especially difficult for those with hearing loss. Despite the hustle and bustle of activity going on all around us, there are just certain sounds enmeshed in our consciousness when it comes to this time of year; without them the holidays just wouldn’t be the same.

From music to the voices of your loved 
ones, the holiday season is filled with 
plenty of sounds you want to hear!


From music played on the radio to the songs we hear in shopping malls, at holiday parties or from groups of carolers, the soundtrack of the season is still, for the most part, the familiar music we all grew up listening to. Some of the artists may have changed; while our parents listened to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” faithfully, now young people can listen to everyone from Justin Bieber to Snoop Dogg doing their own versions of familiar tunes. And who can forget Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song,” which became an unintended classic back in 1994?

The music of the season has the ability to lift our spirits and bring back memories of holidays past. But because hearing loss most often affects the higher frequencies, if you can’t hear the lyrics, and the instruments just run together in an undistinguishable jumble, a big part of the season’s joy may be lost for you. Certain instruments in particular, such as violins and flutes, are often in the high frequency range and can be a challenge for those with hearing loss.

The voices of loved ones

Whether it is a family gathering or catching up via a long distance phone call with loved ones far away, the holiday season brings multiple opportunities to reconnect. From quiet conversations by the fireside to laughter and shared stories at the holiday table, conversations bring people together and add warmth and joy to the season. But imagine not being able to hear the sounds of happy children giggling as they tear open presents, or someone expressing their gratitude for a gift.

Those with hearing loss can miss out on conversations at parties, stories told at the holiday table and other opportunities for connection. Feeling left out of conversations, especially this time of year, can lead to frustration, loneliness and even depression.


When sleigh bells ring, are you listening? One of the most recognizable sounds of the season is the jingling of bells, whether from the volunteer standing by the red kettle collecting from the Salvation Army or from festive strands of bells attached to shop doors. Children everywhere snuggle into their beds on Christmas Eve, convinced if they stay awake long enough they will be able to hear the bells announcing the arrival of Santa’s sleigh. The sound of bells signal many things, from enchantment to worship to rejoicing, and especially at this time of year brings smiles to people’s faces and lifts their spirits. Without being able to hear their joyous sound, you are missing out on one of the happiest sounds of the holidays.

Your favorite movies

You probably have your favorites. In my house the holidays wouldn’t be complete without at least one viewing of the movie “Elf.” Other traditional favorites, such as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or “A Christmas Story,” have a timeless appeal that draws millions in each year to watch again and again. Whether it is the humor or the heart that compels us to watch, one thing is certain; viewing these movies just isn’t the same if you can’t hear your favorite lines.

New Year’s Eve countdown

On the night of Dec. 31, those of us who can stay awake long enough will participate in a long-standing tradition: the New Year’s Eve countdown. Tuning into radios and TV broadcasts, millions across the U.S. will celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. Tuning in to “Ryan Seacrest’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” to watch the ball drop in Times Square has become traditional for many. After all, what would New Year’s Eve be without hearing excited shouts of “3…2…1…Happy New Year!” and the familiar strains of “Auld Lang Syne?”

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