For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Everybody 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, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have trouble hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gets together, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing impairment with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It may seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it an especially challenging problem. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud places, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful options if you don’t already have them. 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.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. Your loved ones will be happy to help you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.