The holidays are coming up soon, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people tend to talk at the same time in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is hard 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
Before everybody gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. 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 much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
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 more difficult for you to hear conversations. You won’t 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 loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a major issue for people 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 get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Think About New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to understand 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 inform them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to help out.