For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. There are a number of ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a hard time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is important that you talk about 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 family members, so people know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Make sure you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud places, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
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 turning 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 family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. Hearing loss should never prevent 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.