For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do several people often talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for individuals who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
Before everybody gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing impairment with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation 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 Center
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. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. 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
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging problem. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Think About New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you want to hear to understand a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you inform them. A family get-together is a time for celebration, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from getting in on the fun. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.