The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals 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 noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is important 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. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are talking. It may seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain 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 will not 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 spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a significant problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
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 turning away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you tell 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.