For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Everybody is talking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for individuals who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have trouble 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
It is important 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. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively engage.
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 places make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you are 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 place at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise poses a considerable problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on spoken words. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Consider New Technologies
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 amplifying the voices you need to hear to understand 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 inform them. A family get-together is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be happy to help out.