For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. 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 challenging for people with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. There are a number of ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a difficult time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everyone gets together, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so people know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are talking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
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 make out conversations. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
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 get-together, 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 possible and away from loud places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying 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 stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to help out.