4675 West 20th Street Road, Suite A, Greeley, Colorado 80634
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11/20/2018

Tips for Hearing and Communication at Family Dinners this Holiday Season

The holiday season is about to begin, and first on the menu is Thanksgiving Dinner. If you have a hearing loss, you may worry that you’ll miss moments of conversation at large family gatherings. We’ve put together some tips to help you communicate at the dinner table.

Practical Hearing Tips

With a lot of people dining together, the noise can escalate. This is a challenge if you have a hearing loss. These practical tips will maximize your hearing and communication abilities. (If the meal is not being held at your home, we recommend speaking to the host prior to the day about the following.)

  • Background noise such as television or music is best kept to a low level.
  • Lighting is important; a well lit table will make it easier to read lips and catch visual cues, helping you understand what is said more easily.
  • Seating arrangements. You may benefit from sitting in the middle, this way you are close to everyone; helping you hear and see them better. It can also help to have a wall behind you to block out background noise and enable sound to bounce back into your ears.
  • Focus on hearing those closest to you, avoid talking across a distance. Accept you probably won’t hear every conversation but you could always suggest a seating shuffle after each course is served!
  • Take quiet breaks to rest your senses or in order to converse more clearly 1-2-1. Offer to help in the kitchen to help give you a brief noise detox.

Communicating Tips  

  • Wear your hearing aids and adjust the settings prior to the event. You may also find device’s such as a personal FM system useful.
  • Before you speak to someone, get their attention either by saying their name or briefly touching their hand or arm.
  • Always face the person you are talking with.
  • Actively listen and do not interrupt.
  • Speak slowly and clearly do not shout.
  • It’s tempting to just nod along and pretend you can hear everything but it can lead to confusion and embarrassment. If you are struggling to hear, try the gesture of cupping your hand behind your ear- it’s simple but it works!
  • To improve your confidence and subtly keep things running smoothly, why not ask to buddy up with someone who understands your hearing loss? They can fill in any gaps and involve you in the group conversation.
  • If you suffer from asymmetric hearing loss (one sided hearing loss), try sitting so that your best ear is closest to your companion.

Thanksgiving is about quality time with loved ones, having a hearing loss shouldn’t keep you from enjoying that. We hope these tips help you have a wonderful time. If you are concerned about your hearing and would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us on (970) 352-2881 or click here to request an appointment today.

We are hearing experts.

Robert M. Traynor, Ed.D. MBA is the owner and senior audiologist on staff. Dr. Traynor has treated patients in Greeley for more than 40 years and is a widely published expert, audiology professor, and advisor to many leading hearing companies. Learn more about Dr. Traynor.