The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and dinners in crowded restaurants can prove particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Not only do several people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. 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 Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is essential that you talk about 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 easier like facing you when they talk. It might seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you probably won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot 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 challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on spoken words. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
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 want to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Attempt 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 loved ones. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.