The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people often talk at once in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have trouble 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 gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for instance, to try and face you when they are talking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
Sit in The Center of The Table
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 in the middle. If you are in the middle of the table, you probably will not 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.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a major challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, 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, 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 with these technologies.
Attempting 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 let them know. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to help out.