The holidays are upon us, and big family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can prove especially challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is difficult for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is crucial that you talk about your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
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 in the middle. You will not 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 hesitate to tell your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a significant challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud spots, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful 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 are struggling through a meal is if you tell them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.