The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Everyone 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 difficult for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you use 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 discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain spot 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 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 let your family know if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it a particularly challenging problem. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful solutions if you don’t already have them. 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 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 prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.