If you have hearing loss, simple things like hearing your family at dinner can be challenging. And struggling to hear can lead to frustration among your loved ones and leave you feeling isolated and depressed.
Whether you’re at a large gathering for the holidays or a typical weeknight meal with your immediate family, you don’t want to miss out on the conversation. Instead of feeling left out of family stories or missing the punchline to funny jokes, consider these five tips to help you hear better at the dinner table.
Turn down the music
While you may enjoy dining with music or TV in the background, competing sounds can drown out other people’s voices and make it difficult to hold conversations. Try eliminating background noise altogether, or at least lower it considerably, so your ears can focus on the conversation instead of competing against the excess noise.
Improve the lighting
Those with hearing loss often try to compensate by reading the lips of whomever is speaking. However, this becomes more difficult in poor lightening. Improve your ability to see you family’s lips moving and better understand what is being said by turning the lights up or changing the existing fixtures to shine more light at the dinner table.
Sit with your back to the wall
Where you sit at the table can impact how you hear. By sitting near a wall, you can block out excessive background noise behind you to help you hear the people at the table better.
Speak up for yourself
Instead of nodding along with a conversation you have trouble following, be honest and ask your family to repeat what they said. And if you are a guest at someone else’s dinner table, it doesn’t hurt to let your host know in advance that you have hearing challenges and what they can do to make sure you’re able to keep up with the conversation.
Get your hearing tested
If you find yourself struggling to hear you family each day, it’s a good idea to have your hearing checked. A hearing care professional can properly diagnose the extent of your hearing loss and recommend the right hearing aids that will help you hear the important conversations you’ve been missing.
All the gatherings among family and friends during the holiday season can present some challenging listening situations even for those with normal hearing. But if you struggle to hear your immediate family daily, it’s time to act. Follow the above tips and you’ll almost always be able to hear what’s most important.