For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. 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 scenario in which it is hard for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have difficulty 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 Discussion With Your Family
It is essential that you discuss your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are talking. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition may dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a significant issue for people with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, such as near 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 options if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
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 tell them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.