With the pandemic, it’s been difficult to host safe family gatherings. Depending on your family’s situation, this may be the first year in a while that you’re able to gather with extended family.
However, there may be some people in your family that, in the past two years, have developed some level of hearing loss, which should change the way you plan your family gathering. With the holiday season fast approaching, our experts at Amdahl Hearing have put together some tips for planning your family gathering with individuals with hearing loss in mind.
Planning a Hearing Loss-Friendly Family Gathering
If you’re hosting your family’s holiday gathering, your number-one priority is ensuring your guests have a great time. Unfortunately, overlapping voices and high levels of background noise can leave some people with hearing loss feeling isolated and left out of the conversation. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your family gathering to ensure everyone has a great time!
It’s nice to play festive tunes or have a movie playing to keep kids occupied while the adults socialize. However, all that noise can be pretty overwhelming for those with hearing loss and make it harder for them to understand conversations, so it’s better to keep the noise to a minimum. Turn down the music, especially during mealtimes, when clinking dishes and conversation are at a maximum. If you’re watching a sports game or movie, lower the volume and turn on subtitles.
Consider designating a quiet area or room for the adults to socialize and a separate room for younger children to play or watch TV. For those with hearing loss, loud events like this can be exhausting, so it can also be helpful to provide a quiet room for the individual to take a break from socialization and noise.
Ensure Good Lighting
For those who read lips, good visibility is a must. Close all drapes and curtains to reduce the glare off windows. Use plenty of lamps and possibly candles to clear the sightlines and keep views unobstructed.
Use Strategic Seating for Dinner
Seat your family member on the opposite side of the table from where the children are seated. Children tend to be loud, and they may not speak as clearly as adults, making it difficult for people with hearing loss to understand other conversations around them. Seat friends and family who are great conversationalists next to those with hearing loss, since this helps keep your loved one involved and engaged in conversations.
Be patient with those with hearing loss. Tap or wave at them to gain their attention. Speak slowly and clearly, straight to their face, not with your head turned. If someone doesn’t understand what you said to them, then rephrase it and try again.
Before your event, it can be helpful to talk to your other family members about the dos and don’ts of speaking to those with hearing loss. Along with the above tips:
- Move closer to your family member if you’re in a noisy environment
- Use gestures to help communicate
- Speak normally but clearly—not extra slowly
- Keep your mouth visible when speaking to your family member
- Don’t yell
- Don’t give up if the individual is struggling to understand you
Communicate with Your Loved One
The most important step in ensuring your loved one enjoys their time at your family gathering is to communicate with them. Depending on their level of hearing loss and other factors, different family members will have different needs. Ask them how you can adjust noise levels, seating arrangements, and the like to ensure their needs are met and they can fully enjoy their time with family.
At Amdahl Hearing, our goal is to “Amplify Life” for those with hearing loss. Using the best hearing aid technology on the market, it’s our mission to enhance the quality of life of our patients. If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss this holiday season, stop in to one of our locations for a hearing assessment.