For people with hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be a challenge. Everyone is talking loudly and at the same time.
It becomes even more difficult for people with hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. If you have difficulty hearing from one or both ears, or you wear a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
It is important 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 family members, so people know, for example, to try and look at you when they are talking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everyone when you can actively participate.
Sit in The Middle 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 spots make it more difficult for you to make out conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you probably won’t have to struggle as much to hear what people are saying. If there is a spot at the table you know is best for you, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones your preference.
Request a Lower Music Volume
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on conversation which makes it a particularly challenging issue. If you are at a family get-together, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. 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.
Consider New Technologies
An FM system or a directional microphone are helpful options if you don’t already have them. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by facing away from it and amplifying the voices you need to hear to make out a conversation.
Don’t Try to Bluff Your Way Through
Your loved ones won’t know you’re struggling to hear if you don’t let them know. A family get-together is a time for celebration, and your hearing impairment should never prevent you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be glad to give you a hand.