For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for individuals who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. There are a few ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a tough time hearing out of one or both ears or if you wear a hearing aid.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
It is essential 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 explain it to their children and other family members, so people know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are talking. It may seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal a lot more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a certain place 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 in the middle. You won’t have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Make sure 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 speech which makes it a particularly challenging problem. 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 possible and away from noisy places, such as near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful solutions if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by turning away from it with these technologies.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you tell them. A family gathering is a time to celebrate, and your hearing loss should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your loved ones will be happy to give you a hand.