For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do several people often talk at once in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even more difficult for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have a hard time 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.
Before Gatherings, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is essential that you discuss your hearing loss with your family members 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 simpler like facing you when they talk. It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
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 spots make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your family your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging problem. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, 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 solutions 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 make out a conversation.
Trying 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 gathering is a time for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to help out.