The holidays are coming up soon, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially difficult for people with hearing loss. Everybody is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. 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 Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s essential 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 example, to try and face you when they are talking. It may seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone 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 during big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to make out conversations. You will not 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 hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. A family gathering is a time for celebration, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to help out.