The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for individuals 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 wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gets together, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like facing 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 Center of The Table
Family tradition may dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you probably will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot 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 considerable challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. 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, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from noisy spots, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your loved ones will be happy to help you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.