For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do several people tend to talk at the same time in these situations, but they also elevate 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 have a good time. There are a number of ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a hard time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like facing you when they talk. It might seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you probably will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a significant challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful options 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 with these technologies.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you let them know. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to help out.