The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially difficult 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 one another.
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 trouble 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
It is essential that you discuss your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. 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 be shy about telling your family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it an especially challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated 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. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with 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 let them know. A family gathering is a time for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never stop you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to help out.