The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at the same time in these situations, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everybody gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then explain it to their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular 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 in the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not 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 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 speech which makes it an especially challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are 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 clattering of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t inform them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.