For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do multiple people often talk at once 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 challenging for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few 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
It is crucial 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. 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 difficult.
Sit in The Center of The Table
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 in the middle. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy spots, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it using these technologies.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to help out.