The holidays are upon us, and big family get-togethers and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is difficult for individuals 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
It is important 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. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating smoother like facing you when they talk. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your loved ones your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a considerable issue for people with hearing loss because it’s 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 decrease the volume. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy places, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Look at New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, consider investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it using these technologies.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your family will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you let them know. Hearing loss should never stop you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your loved ones. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to give you a hand.