For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is talking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have trouble 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 Talk With Your Family
It is crucial 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. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating simpler like looking at you when they talk. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone 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 at big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. You won’t 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.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a significant issue 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 lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
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 facing away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you let them know. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to help out.