The holidays are coming up soon, and big family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can be particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Everybody is speaking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is hard for people with hearing loss to have a good time. 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gets together, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, 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 everybody when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
In some cases, 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 probably will not 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
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging issue. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful options if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it using these technologies.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you 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 help out.