For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is essential that you discuss your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. They can then explain it to their children and other members of the family, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation 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 spots make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely won’t 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 family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least decrease the volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
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 turning away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your family members 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 loved ones. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.