For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is important that you discuss your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating simpler like looking at you when they talk. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to make out conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a major challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from noisy places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.