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 settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, dishes clattering, and chairs scraping. If you have trouble hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gets together, it’s important that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and face you when they are talking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition may stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely won’t have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. 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
Background noise poses a major challenge for people with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and concentrate on speech. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low background level. If you are in a restaurant, sit 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.
Think About New Technologies
If you don’t already have them, think about purchasing 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.
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 for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never stop you from joining in on the fun. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.