The holidays are coming up soon, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Everybody is talking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is difficult for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have trouble hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s crucial 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 look at you when they are speaking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a certain 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 are in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your family your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a major problem for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least decrease the volume. 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 turning away from it using these technologies.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your family members 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. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.