The holidays are upon us, and big family get-togethers and dinners in crowded restaurants can be especially challenging for people with hearing loss. Everybody is speaking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for people with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, 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 deal with the background noise. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It might seem like an awkward discussion 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
Family tradition may dictate 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. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Make sure you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it an especially challenging issue. If you are at a family get-together, 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.
Consider New Technologies
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 need to hear to understand a conversation.
Trying 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 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 may need to make during your meal.