The holidays are upon us, and big family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for individuals with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is important that you talk about your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you deal with the background noise. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It might seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain spot 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 near the middle. If you’re 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
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least decrease the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy spots, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in 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 make out a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.