For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do multiple people often talk at once 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 challenging for people with hearing loss to have a good time. There are a number of ways you can make these noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family if you have a hard time hearing out of one or both ears or if you use a hearing aid.
Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First
Before everyone gets together, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then explain it to their children and other family members, 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 uncomfortable.
Sit in The Center of The Table
Family tradition may dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those spots make it more difficult for you to make out conversations. You will not have as hard of a time hearing conversations from the middle of the table. Be certain you speak up and let your family know if there is a place at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Background noise can be a significant issue for individuals with hearing loss because it’s hard for their ears to filter out this noise and focus in 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, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as you can and away from noisy 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, consider investing in 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 make out a conversation.
Don’t Attempt to Bluff Your Way Through
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 impairment should never prevent you from joining in on the fun. Your family members will be happy to assist you with any adjustments you may need to make during your meal.