For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is talking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. 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.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing impairment with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating simpler like facing you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a particular spot 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 near 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.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a considerable challenge for people with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it using 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 prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.