The holidays are coming up soon, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for individuals 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 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 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. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating smoother like looking at you when they talk. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition may stipulate 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 won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Make sure you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a considerable problem for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
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 prevent you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.