The holidays are coming up soon, and large family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can be particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people often talk at once in these situations, but they also raise 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 situation in which it is challenging for people with hearing loss to have a good time. There are a few ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is essential that you discuss your hearing loss with your family 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 members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and face you when they are talking. It might seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
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 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 probably won’t have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud spots, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful options if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you inform them. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.