For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have trouble 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.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
It is crucial that you talk about your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like facing you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain 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 are 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 spot 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 significant issue for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, try to sit 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 amplifying the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Attempting 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 loved ones will be glad to help out.