For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do several people tend to talk at once in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
It is essential that you talk about your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating smoother like facing you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
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 places make it harder for you to hear conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a major challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from noisy places, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful 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 need to hear to understand a conversation.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.