For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over one another.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is hard 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 several steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is essential 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 discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit difficult.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Middle
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those spots make it harder for you to hear conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise poses a major problem for people with hearing loss because it is 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. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family 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 needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.