For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do several people often talk at the same time in these situations, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for people with hearing loss to have a good time. There are a number of ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
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 smoother like looking at you when they talk. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it harder for you to hear conversations. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging issue. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you tell them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your loved ones will be happy to help you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.