With the holiday season just around the corner, there is plenty of shopping to complete. Browsing shop after shop for special Christmas presents for your loved ones isn’t an easy feat. This can be even more demanding if you are dealing with hearing loss. However, hearing loss doesn’t mean you can’t make the most out of the deal-grabbing and door-busting chaos that is so typical at the end of the holiday season. Here are some handy tips that will help you shop like a pro despite your hearing loss:

Aim for Smaller Shops

There are several reasons to frequent smaller shops during your holiday spree. The biggest reason is that smaller shops are much more hearing-friendly than larger ones. Large stores have high ceilings, tiled floors and poor acoustics, making them very difficult to hear in even on regular days. Add in the enormous crowd of holiday shoppers with the overwhelming noise they produce and you will find yourself frustrated and exhausted.

Not only do smaller stores provide more personalized service, they are also normally less crowded. This will reduce the noise level and give you a more comfortable shopping experience.

Speak Up

Some stores can provide extra assistance to people with hearing loss or other conditions. Thanks to the loop induction system installed in many stores these days, you can set your hearing aids to the telecoil setting and hear better while you shop. Retail stores that offer loop induction systems for customers with hearing aids advertise the amenity in flyers or display the international symbol of access for hearing loss at their entrance.

If you’re not sure about the store you’re in, don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to a customer service representative. Be your own advocate and tell the staff that you have hearing loss and could benefit from additional assistance.

Communicate Effectively

The key to good shopping despite hearing loss is effective communication. If you are heading to the mall with your friend, it might help you to decide on some hand signals or other non-verbal cues in case they need to convey some important information to you in the middle of a crowded store.

It’s also important to communicate intelligently with the staff members so they can assist you better. For example, instead of asking open ended questions, such as, “What colors do you have this shirt in?” you can ask a close-ended questions, such as “Do you have this shirt in blue?”

Be Well Prepared

Perhaps the most beneficial practice for someone with hearing loss is to make sure to wear your hearing aids if you have them! Not only will they help you hear better, they also give you more confidence to talk to people and ask questions. Keep extra batteries on hand in the event you need to change them while shopping.