The holidays are upon us, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at once in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is essential 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 explain it to their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for example, to try and look at you when they are speaking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain spot at the table, but the best place 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 in the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you probably 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 be shy about telling your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a major problem for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it using these technologies.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.