For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. There are a number of ways you can make these loud gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is important that you talk about your hearing loss with your family 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 members of the family, so people know, for instance, to try and face you when they are talking. It might seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular place 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 in 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 place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a major problem for people with hearing loss because it is hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in on speech. 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 you can 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 purchasing 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.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family gathering is a time for celebration, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.