The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially difficult for people with hearing loss. Everybody is talking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is hard for people with hearing loss to have a good time. 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gets together, it’s important 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 smoother like looking at you when they talk. It may seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition might stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. If you’re 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 loved ones your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a considerable challenge for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful options if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it using these technologies.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you let them know. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be happy to help out.