The holidays are coming up soon, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially tough for people with hearing loss. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you use 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 Discussion With Your Family
It is important that you discuss your hearing loss with your family members 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 smoother like facing you when they talk. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot 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 place 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 will not 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 be shy about telling your family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a significant problem for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful options 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 understand 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 tell them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.