The holidays are upon us, and big family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially tough for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have difficulty 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
Before everybody gathers, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone 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 particular spot at the table, but the best spot 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’re in the middle of the table, you probably won’t have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a considerable problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. If you are at a family get-together, 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.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful solutions if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it using these technologies.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be glad to give you a hand.