The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everybody is conversing 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. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a hard time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is important that you talk about your hearing loss with your family members 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 people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Sometimes, 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. 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 hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a significant issue for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate 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 possible and away from loud places, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider 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.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
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 might need to make during your meal.