The holidays are upon us, and big family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everybody is conversing loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain place at the table, but the best place 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. 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 place 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 poses a significant issue for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate 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 loud spots, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Think About New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.