No matter what holidays you observe or how you choose to celebrate, conversations around the dinner table are an important part of connecting with loved ones. However, it can be difficult to hear and process sound from a lot of different sources all at once — a struggle made more complicated for those with hearing loss.
Here are three tips to make sure you can actively hear and participate in dinner table discussions:
1. Be mindful of where you sit
One of the biggest factors in whether or not you’ll be able to hear is where you are in relation to the sound. If you have unilateral hearing loss, find a seat where your good ear is facing the action. If you have bilateral hearing loss, try to reduce interfering noises by sitting with your back to a wall. This will help ensure that the sounds you hear are in front of you and easier to recognize.
Dim lighting can make reading lips and expressions more difficult, so avoid candle-lit meals and instead look for rooms with windows or strong overhead lighting.
2. Look for quieter environments to have one-on-one conversations
No one likes to shout at a relative or friend from across the table or have to repeat every sentence three or four times. While you may not always have control of the situation, you can look for areas in the house that work better for one-on-one conversations, such as the backyard, an open corner of the living room, or the sitting area of the library.
You don’t need to isolate yourself, but be aware of the spots that will allow you to hear without all the environmental noise of busy areas. Ask to move the conversation to one of those spots if you’re having trouble understanding the person you’re speaking with.
3. Check out wireless accessories that can bring the sound directly to your processor
Cochlear’s Mini Mic and Mini Mic 2+ are designed to help you hear in difficult situations by transmitting sound directly from the source. For group conversations, place the microphone on the center of the table to get a fuller, more direct stream of sound. For individual conversations, simply have the other person clip it on to their shirt and their voice will be picked up and sent straight to your processor — even if they’re on the other side of the room.