There is a lot to be grateful for on Thanksgiving: good food, friends, and family all coming together. What's not to enjoy? With music, laughter, and endless conversations, those with hearing loss, may fear missing out on all of the fun. There can be a lot of loud and conflicting noises that make it a very challenging environment to hear well.
Our audiologists would like to give those experiencing hearing loss in Omaha some tips on how to better communicate this Thanksgiving:
1. Talk with the host and your family beforehand
Before going over for dinner, make sure that you inform your host about your hearing difficulties and ways to structure the environment to make it easier for all to hear. You can also remind your family members about the best ways to communicate with you, such as looking directly at you when they talk, avoid covering their mouth when they talk, and avoid speaking too rapidly.
2. Limit background noise
Thanksgiving is not just all about the food, a lot of people will tell you that it is about football and fun too. It’s not unusual for families to have the game playing in the background or even their favorite music, but this can be distracting and make it hard to follow conversations. You can ask your host to instead leave the game on, but reduce the volume or even mute it completely. The same goes for any dinner music; politely ask your host if they can leave it off for the day or keep it on low.
3. Sit in a good spot
Sitting with the wall behind you and in the middle of the table gives you the opportunity to listen to more conversations and limit the amount of background noise behind you. Sitting near family you haven’t seen in a while can help you better converse with them. A good seat is subjective and it matters what is most important to you.
4. Wear your hearing aids
The best way to make sure you feel involved in conversations and family fun is to wear your hearing aids. Some hearing aids are even programmed with specific settings, such as a crowd, noise, or restaurant program that are perfect for loud or busy environments. Many of our patients with hearing loss in Omaha have found these programs quite helpful. You can also try out different settings at home to be prepared for the actual day, so you feel more confident and prepared when you arrive.
5. Be strategic with your conversations
Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to carry on a conversation across the room. Instead, speak with the people who are closest to you. If there is someone you want to have a conversation with, seek them out and sit near them.
6. Give yourself some grace
More than likely, there are still some things you are not going to hear. You may have to ask someone to repeat themselves once or twice. You may also suffer from hearing loss exhaustion, so it's okay to take breaks and seek out a quiet room every once in a while. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.
If you are suffering with hearing loss in Omaha, make an appointment with one of our audiologists at Active Hearing Health. It is our mission to help you Hear Now, Stay Active, and Live Better!