For people who have hearing loss, family dinners and gatherings can be a challenge. Everybody is conversing 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 people with hearing loss to enjoy themselves. If you have a hard time 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 meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everyone gathers, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to struggle 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.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it an especially challenging issue. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least reduce the volume. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as you can and away from loud spots, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
An FM system or a directional microphone are useful solutions if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t tell them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be glad to give you a hand.