‘Tis the season…to shop ‘til you drop! Maneuvering through crowded shopping malls is difficult enough during the holidays; when you’ve got hearing loss, it’s an even tougher proposition. We’ve got some tips for those with hearing loss in Las Vegas who are still scouring the aisles for last-minute gifts. We can’t tell you what to buy, but we can help ease the burden your hearing loss might cause.
Tips for Braving the Aisles
For Las Vegas residents with hearing loss, a simple chore like going shopping may be fraught with difficulty. You’ll have to deal with crowded aisles, ornery cashiers and incessant background noise – especially this time of year, when stores and malls try to get you into the holiday spirit by playing “Jingle Bells” so often you’ll find yourself dashing all the way to your car just to escape.
Planning in advance can make your shopping experience more tolerable, however. To shop better with hearing loss, we suggest you do the following:
- Support small businesses. Everything in Las Vegas seems larger than life, but when it comes to shopping, think small. Supporting mom-and-pop businesses won’t only provide a boost to the local economy, but it’s less stressful if you’re shopping with hearing loss. Big box retailers often have screaming deals, but they may be accompanied by screaming kids – whom you won’t be able to escape thanks to store layouts with open spaces that favor poor acoustics. Plus, larger stores attract more people, which only exacerbates your stress and discomfort. Smaller, locally owned stores tend to be less crowded – and easier on your ears.
- Utilize hearing loops. If you wear hearing aids, switch the telecoil setting on to take advantage of loop induction systems found in many large public places, such as department stores and shopping malls. Hearing loops broadcast clear sound free of distraction directly to your hearing aids, eliminating background noise. Most stores with loop systems will display the international symbol of access for hearing loss, usually in the 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 improve the efficiency of your hearing aids by increasing their battery life and eliminating the need for a receiver, making them more lightweight – and when you’ve got a full day’s worth of shopping, you’re bound to be bogged down with plenty of bags and packages already. Streamers will help prevent you from getting too tired and also eliminate distracting background noise, enabling you to hear more clearly.
- Plan your trip in advance. Before you leave home, come up with a plan of attack. Map out the stores you are planning on going to in advance 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. This eliminates any conversation difficulties with store clerks you would otherwise seek assistance from. Bring along a friend or family member to assist with communication efforts and keep you abreast of store announcements if possible. Bribing them with a pretzel from the food court often helps. Make sure your hearing aid batteries are fully charged before heading out and bring along plenty of extras.
- Shop online. If the idea of heading out to a busy store to shop is simply too daunting, save yourself the hassle and stress by shopping from the comfort of home. Online retailers like Amazon carry virtually everything you could possibly want (and a lot that you didn’t even know you needed). You won’t have to battle for that last parking spot or jostle your way through noisy crowds. And you can’t beat the convenience of having items delivered directly to your front door!
For more information, contact your Las Vegas audiologist.