The holidays are coming up soon, and big family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially tough for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people often talk at once in these situations, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a particular place at the table, but the best place 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 will not have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a considerable problem for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. If you are at a family gathering, 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.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. 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.
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 stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.