“Family

The holidays are upon us, and large family get-togethers and dinners in crowded restaurants can prove particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Not only do multiple people tend to talk at the same time in these settings, but they also elevate their voices to be heard over each other.

Combine that with the clattering of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a scenario in which it is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to have a good time. If you have a hard time hearing from one or both ears, or you use a hearing aid, there are a few steps you can take to make these big, noisy gatherings more enjoyable for you and your family.

Talk to Your Loved Ones First

Before everyone gathers, it’s essential that you help your family make adjustments by talking about your hearing impairment with them. They can then discuss it with their children and other members of the family, so everyone will know, for example, to try and face you when they are speaking. It will make the meal much more enjoyable for everyone even if the conversation is a bit difficult.

Sit in The Center of The Table

Sometimes, it’s tradition to sit at a particular 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 in 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

Background noise poses a significant challenge for people 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 gathering, 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 possible and away from loud spots, like near the kitchen, where you can hear the clattering of pots and pans.

Technology Can Help

If you don’t already have them, think about investing in directional microphones or an FM system. Both of these technologies can help you isolate background noise by turning away from it and boosting the voices you need to hear to understand a conversation.

Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan

The only way your loved ones will know if you are struggling through a meal is if you let them know. 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.

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