For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Everybody is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have trouble 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 Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those spots make it more difficult 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 spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a considerable problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you 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 might need to make during your meal.