The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially challenging 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 scenario in which it is difficult for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have trouble 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 Discussion With Your Family
It is essential that you talk about your hearing loss with your family before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating smoother like looking at you when they talk. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a major problem for people with hearing loss because it is 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 volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Think About New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it with these technologies.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.