For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do several people tend to talk at the same time in these situations, but they also raise 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 scenario in which it is difficult for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is essential that you talk about your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a particular spot at the table, but the best spot to sit if you want to have an easier time hearing conversation isn’t at the head or near the end of the table, it’s near the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. 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
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with these technologies.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.