For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Not only do multiple people often talk at the same time in these situations, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.
Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is hard for people with hearing loss to have a good time. 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 use a hearing aid.
Have a Talk With 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. Your family can then do the things that will make communicating simpler like facing you when they talk. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
Sit in The Middle of The Table
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a particular spot 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 near the middle. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. If there is a place at the table you know is best for you, don’t be shy about telling your loved ones your preference.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it an especially challenging issue. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it using these technologies.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
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 to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. Your family members will be happy to help you with any adjustments you might need to make during your meal.