For people who have hearing loss, family meals and gatherings can be challenging. Not only do several people tend to talk at once in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over one another.
It becomes even more difficult for people who have hearing loss when you add other noises like background music, chairs scraping, and dishes clattering. 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 wear a hearing aid.
Talk to Your Loved Ones First
It is important 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 discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so people know, for example, 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 uncomfortable.
When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center
Family tradition might dictate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table during big meals, but those places make it more difficult for you to hear conversations. If you are in the middle of the table, you likely will not 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
Having hearing loss makes it difficult to filter out background noise and focus on speech which makes it an especially challenging problem. Ask your family to turn the music off or at least lower the volume. At restaurants, ask to be seated away from the kitchen and the speakers.
Technology Can Help
If you don’t already have them, consider purchasing 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.
Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan
The only way your family will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you tell them. A family gathering 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 loved ones will be happy to give you a hand.