For people with hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Everyone is conversing 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 difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Get-Togethers, Have a Talk With Your Family
Before everybody gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. 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 may seem like an uncomfortable discussion 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 Middle
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain place at the table, but the best place to sit if you want to have an easier time hearing conversation isn’t at the head or near the end of the table, it’s in the middle. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and tell your family if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Background noise can be a significant 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. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud spots, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it with these technologies.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your family members won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. A family get-together is a time to celebrate, and your hearing impairment should never prevent you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.