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The holidays are coming up soon, and large family gatherings and meals in crowded restaurants can prove particularly tough for people with hearing loss. Everyone is speaking loudly and at the same time.

Combine that with the clanging of dishes, scraping of chairs, and background music, and you have a situation in which it is hard for individuals 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 wear a hearing aid.

Have a Talk With Your Loved Ones First

It is crucial that you discuss 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 everyone will know, for instance, to try and face you when they are speaking. It might seem like an awkward discussion to have, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable for everybody when you can actively engage.

When You Sit at The Table, Pick a Spot Near The Center

Family tradition might stipulate that you sit at the head or near the end of the table at big meals, but those places make it harder for you to make out conversations. If you’re in the middle of the table, you likely will not have to strain as much to hear what people are saying. Make sure you speak up and let your family know if there is a spot at the table that’s best for you.

Ask That The Music be Turned Down

Background noise can be a major problem for people with hearing loss because it is 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 volume. If you are in a restaurant, ask to be seated as far away from speakers as possible and away from loud places, like close to the kitchen, where you can hear the clanging of pots and pans.

Technology Can Help

An FM system or a directional microphone are useful solutions if you don’t already have them. Voices you want to hear are amplified and you can isolate background noise by facing away from it with these technologies.

Trying to Bluff Your Way Through Isn’t Good Plan

The only way your loved ones will know if you’re struggling through a meal is if you inform them. Hearing loss should never prevent you from enjoying the fun of the holidays with your family. If there are adjustments you need to make mid-meal, your family will be glad to help out.

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