For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Everybody is conversing loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing impairment with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are talking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition may 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. If you are in the middle of the table, you probably won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a significant challenge 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 get-together, 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.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.