Hearing Better at Family Gatherings and Holiday Meals This Season
By Top-Rated Charlotte Audiologist, Dr. Gosu
Hearing loss is something that deserves consideration as much as any of the other details of holiday planning. After all, half of all families have someone sharing their holiday meals who struggles with hearing loss. In addition, 30% of families have someone at the holiday table who is wearing hearing aids. The person with hearing loss can make requests to be accommodated, as needed; but it’s best when the hosts make allowances to ensure that everyone enjoys a great holiday that’s free of hassle.
Set Staging Areas
There are usually people engaging in a wide range of different activities at Thanksgiving. Without careful planning, the noise level could become a source of agitation for everyone. A great solution is to intentionally place different groups in different areas, with walls between. Children should be in one room with plenty of toys and hopefully sound-absorbing furnishings such as carpeting and drapes. Sports watchers should be in an area away from others who are enjoying conversation. A quiet place for one-on-one conversation should also be available.
The Dining Table
There are certain logistics that, if used, can make the holiday meal free of frustration for those with hearing loss. The following are a few ideas for the holiday table:
- Seat anyone with hearing loss away from doorways into noisier rooms. This includes the kitchen and the room where others may be eating while watching a football game.
- Clear the table of decorations and other potential obstacles that could prevent a person with hearing loss from being able to see everyone else and watch their lips as they speak.
- It always proves helpful if a friend or family member can take the role of helping a person who has suffered hearing loss. Ideally, this person would patiently assist with filling in bits of missed conversation, especially when background noise is making things especially difficult.
More Holiday Tips To Help Those With Hearing Loss
The following are some added touches that can help those with hearing loss during holiday dinner:
- Close the curtains in the dining area because they serve to tamp down on the noise level.
- Bring in extra lighting, if needed, so that the dining area isn’t in semi-darkness. This could be achieved with candles, as long as they don’t obstruct everyone’s view of one another.
- Place the person with hearing problems the furthest away from the kids’ table.
- If background music is playing, keep the volume low.
A Hearing-Friendly Holiday
Being with family and friends is the best part of the holidays. Giving special considerations for those with hearing loss a way to be sure no one is left out of the joys of the occasion.