The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. There are a number of ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a difficult time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is important that you talk about your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. They can then explain it to their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are speaking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
Sit in The Center of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular 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. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a considerable challenge for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you inform them. Hearing loss should never stop 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.