For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
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 enjoy themselves. 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 Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing loss with them. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating easier like looking at you when they talk. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain spot at the table, but the best spot 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 near the middle. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful options if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with these technologies.
Trying 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 for celebration, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.