For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do several people often talk at once in these settings, but they also raise their voices to be heard over each other.
It becomes even harder for people with 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 use a hearing aid, there are several steps you can take to make these big, noisy meals more enjoyable for you and your family.
Before Gatherings, Have a Discussion With Your Family
Before everyone gets together, it’s crucial that you help your family make adjustments by discussing your hearing loss with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other family members, so everyone will know, for instance, to try and look at you when they are speaking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everybody even if the conversation is a bit awkward.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
In some cases, it’s tradition to sit at a certain place 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. Make sure you speak up and tell your family if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.
Ask That The Music be Turned Down
Having hearing loss makes it hard to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it a particularly challenging issue. If you are at a family gathering, ask that the music is turned off or set at a very low volume. If you’re in a restaurant, sit as far away from speakers as possible and away from noisy spots, such as close to 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 facing away from it using these technologies.
Attempting to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
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 loss should never stop you from getting in on the fun. If there are adjustments needed mid-meal, your family will be happy to give you a hand.