For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over one another.
It becomes even harder for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing impairment 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 talking. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular spot 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 near the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it with these technologies.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones 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. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be happy to help out.