The holidays are coming up soon, and big family gatherings and dinners in crowded restaurants can prove particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. Everybody is talking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is hard for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everyone gets together, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. They can then explain it to their children and other members of the family, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are talking. It may seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a major issue for people with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from noisy places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about 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 need to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to give you a hand.