The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be especially tough for people with hearing loss. Everybody is conversing loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is crucial that you discuss 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 discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an awkward 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 certain spot 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 near the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you probably won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. 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
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it a particularly challenging problem. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. At restaurants, try to sit away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Think About New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it using these technologies.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you let them know. 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.