For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Everyone is talking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion 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. They can then explain it to their children and other members of the family, so people know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition might stipulate 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 hear conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you probably will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a place 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 can be a major problem for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. 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.
Look at 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 facing away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to make out a conversation.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you tell them. A family get-together is a time to celebrate, and your hearing impairment should never stop you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be glad to help out.