The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everyone is conversing 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 a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are a few 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
Before everyone gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like facing you when they talk. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Sometimes, 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 near the middle. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely 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 loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a significant challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing 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 understand a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.