For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone 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 scenario in which it is challenging for people with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have trouble hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
Before everybody gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit uncomfortable.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Family tradition might stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those places make it harder for you to hear conversations. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a major challenge for individuals with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. 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 investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and amplifying the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. A family get-together is a time for celebration, and your hearing loss should never stop you from joining in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.