The holidays are upon us, and big family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially tough for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these situations, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It might seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Center 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 won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a considerable problem for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are 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 clattering of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
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 amplifying the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from joining in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.