December is usually a time of family reunions and celebrations. This year isn’t quite the same, but there are still ways you can connect with your loved ones. A great way to stay connected this holiday season is by having an online family gathering. These are some of our best tips for a successful virtual family reunion this holiday season.
Plan the Reunion Ahead of Time
Since your meeting will take place online, it’s important to plan it out ahead of time. Decide what time you’re going to meet, and make sure all your family members are on the same page. If you have activities you’d like to incorporate, it’s a good idea to tell everyone about these plans ahead of time so that they can come prepared for the festivities.
Hold a Test Meeting
If you’ve never been in an online meeting, you will want to hold a test meeting ahead of the main event. Make sure you know how to log on, how to troubleshoot common problems, and how to invite the rest of the family to the meeting.
As part of your testing, you may even want to invite some other family members to join you. You’ll get practice adding group members, and your loved ones can learn the basics of the platform. During the test meeting you can show them how to turn on their cameras, unmute their mics, or angle the computer to frame their faces. Holding a test meeting can put everyone at ease and make your virtual family reunion go off without a hitch.
Don’t Abandon Traditions
If your family has holiday traditions, don’t leave them behind! Find a way to incorporate your traditions during the virtual family reunion. For example, you can challenge everyone to wear holiday themed clothing, or bring a favorite holiday dish to show off on screen. You can listen to music together, tell stories of past holidays and traditions, or find a game you can play together online.
How to Communicate Online
Online communication is harder than in-person conversations, especially for people with hearing loss. If you have a family member who struggles to hear, there are a few things you can do to help them communicate online.
Start by having a conversation with the family, and reminding them that your loved one has hearing loss. Then, ask them to make accommodations to help your loved one hear. These could include:
- Taking turns speaking so that the audio doesn’t jump back and forth between speakers.
- Speaking clearly, and making sure they’re speaking near the mic.
- Keeping their face visible at all times, so it’s easy to see who’s speaking, and to notice facial expressions and non-verbal cues.
- Turn off all background music in every home, so that it’s easier to focus on what’s being said.
Gifts for Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss
If you have a family member with hearing loss, there are a few great gifts that will help them hear. You can ask your family to pitch in, and make sure the gift arrives before your reunion.
- Assistive Listening Device: A great gift idea is an assistive listening device (ALD). An ALD for online communication can stream audio from the computer or phone right to your loved ones’ ears. This could be straight to their hearing aids, or to a pair of headphones they can wear during the call. With the audio playing right in their ears, your loved one will have an easier time hearing every word during your virtual family reunion.
- Hearing aids: If your loved one with hearing loss doesn’t have hearing aids, now is the perfect time to get hearing devices! This year, more than ever before, we’re communicating online and on the phone. These are challenging listening environments for those with hearing loss, but hearing aids can help.
Treating Hearing Loss
We want your loved one to enjoy all your online family gatherings. Some of our most popular hearing aids offer connectivity features that connect the hearing aids directly to the computer or phone. This means that when your loved one answers the phone or hops on a video call, the audio will automatically stream to both their hearing aids! Call us today to find out more about hearing aids with connectivity features.