The holidays are upon us, and large family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can be particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people tend to talk at once in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is challenging for people with hearing loss to have a good time. There are a number of ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a difficult time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are talking. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition might stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. Make sure you speak up and let your family know if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a considerable problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate 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. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy places, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Attempt 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 family. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to help out.