For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is hard for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a hard time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition might stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to make out conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a considerable problem for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
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 facing away from it using these technologies.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
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 loved ones. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.