The holidays are coming up soon, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everyone is talking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is challenging for people with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have trouble hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating simpler like looking at you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at 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. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
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 problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least decrease the volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you tell them. A family gathering is a time for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never prevent you from getting in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.