The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everybody is conversing loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for people with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have a hard time 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is important that you talk about your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition may dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a considerable challenge for people with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Look at New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with these technologies.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to give you a hand.