The holidays are coming up soon, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove especially challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at once in these settings, 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 scenario in which it is challenging for people with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. 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.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is crucial that you discuss your hearing loss with your family members before a big meal, so they can make adjustments to help you cope 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 talking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
Sit in The Center of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular place 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 near the middle. 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 major challenge for people with hearing loss because it is 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 volume. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family get-together is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from joining in on the fun. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.