The holidays are coming up soon, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people often talk at once 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 scenario 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a certain place at the table, but the best spot to sit if you want to have an easier time hearing conversation isn’t at the head or near the end of the table, it’s near the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not 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 loved ones 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 an especially challenging issue. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful options if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with these technologies.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family get-together is a time for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never stop you from getting in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.