With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might be worried about the busy festive meal and your hearing. Perhaps last year, your extended family dinner was a struggle for you, and it’s possible that your hearing has gotten a bit worse since then. You may be wondering how you’ll cope with all the people, the noise, and not being able to understand what’s being said around the dinner table. In addition to getting your hearing tested, or upgrading your hearing aids, here are a few tips to make this thanksgiving a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Turn it Down
One of the biggest barriers to being able to hear and understand what’s being said is background noise. In a quiet room with just a friend or two, you usually hear quite well. But with a house full of kids, some holiday tunes on in the background, and the TV on in the living room, all that extra noise can be overwhelming. The best thing you can do to help yourself hear is turn down the volume. Turn off the TV, and turn the radio down. Point the speakers away from the table where conversations are happening to make it easier to hear. Everyone will appreciate not having to yell over a bunch of background noise, and you’ll have an easier time participating in conversations all around the dinner table.
Dinner Table Noises
Some background sounds, like music or the TV, are easy to control, but others, like the clattering of forks on plates, is a bit trickier. Consider switching to paper plates and disposable utensils. You’ll be amazed at how much difference it makes when listening to a conversation on the other end of the table. Not only that, but you’ll have more time to enjoy being with your family since you won’t have to spend so much time in the kitchen cleaning up.
Picking the Table
Tradition dictates that everyone sits at one big table, but why not change things up a bit? You could use a few different tables, or even a couple of rooms, and spread out a little bit more. The grandkids might love having a kids table, and parents will be happy not to spend the whole meal shushing the children. You’ll also have an easier time to hear if there are a few less people at the table, and one on one conversations will be more pleasant. If you have a round table, use it! It will be much easier to notice who’s speaking, follow facial expressions, or even read lips if you’re not sitting at a long table.
When Dinner is at Someone Else’s House
Maybe this year your son is hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so you’ll be a guest on the big day. You’ll have less control over the listening environment, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things that could help you hear better. You don’t want to make a big deal out of your hearing loss, but you don’t want to be missing out on all the fun.
At the dinner table, pick a good seat. Sit somewhere where your good ear is facing most of the table, and try to sit at the end of the table, so you can see everyone’s face clearly and make eye contact with whoever’s speaking.
Before dinner, make sure you have a dinner buddy. Pick a family member, like your spouse, or another person you’re close with, and sit next to them. Pick someone you can understand easily, who won’t mind helping you out every now and then when you didn’t quite catch the joke, or missed the question your niece at the other end of the table asked you. They can fill in for you from time to time if you’re feeling a bit lost.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
If you’re struggling to hear, the best thing you can do to hear your family and fully participate in this season’s holiday dinners is to get a quality pair of hearing aids. These sophisticated devices are discreet and easy to use, and will have you hearing in no time. Don’t wait until next year, and sit through all those holiday dinners without being able to enjoy them.
Visit us at the nearest My Hearing Centers location for a hearing assessment and to pick the perfect hearing aids that will have you laughing at all the jokes at your next holiday dinner.