The holidays are coming up soon, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. 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 Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gets together, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular place 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 likely will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it a particularly challenging issue. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Trying 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 to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.