For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Everyone is conversing loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even harder for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have trouble 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.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
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 cope with the background noise. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are speaking. It will make the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain spot 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 near the middle. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. 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 poses a significant 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. If you are in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy places, such as close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Think About New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. Your loved ones will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.