Hearing Loss Tips for Family Dinner and Other Get Togethers

There’s one thing that we can all associate with the holiday season, and that’s family and friends gatherings and dinners. However, when you have a hearing loss this can bring certain challenges. Perhaps a bad experience has left you concerned about embarrassing yourself at the table. Rest assured, our top tips will help make this Thanksgiving a real treat.

Communication Basics

Keep these in mind at all times…

  • 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 – never interrupt.
  • Speak slowly and clearly – do not shout.
  • To avoid any embarrassment from guessing or pretending – simply cup your hand behind your ear if you are struggling to hear. It’s simple but effective.


  • To manage potential noise levels, preparation is key. If the meal is taking place in your home, you can plan ahead with ease. If it isn’t, do not be afraid to discuss arrangements with the host.
  • Think about background noise such as television and music, this is best kept to a low volume. Good lighting is important too; it makes lip reading and catching visual cues easier. Both of these details will help you interpret what is said more easily.
  • Consider seating arrangements, being in the middle provides you with the best chance to see and hear every person. In a noisy restaurant, sit with your back to the noise/room to help your hearing aids focus on the person in front and to the sides of you.
  • Finally, be sure to wear your hearing aids and adjust the settings beforehand. Test which levels work best prior to the gathering. You may also find devices such as personal FM systems useful.

On the Day Of

  • Buddy up with someone who understands your hearing loss. This can increase your confidence and involvement in the group without drawing attention to you. It can also help avoid any gaps in conversation or awkward misunderstandings.
  • Accept you probably won’t hear every conversation. Instead, concentrate on those closest to you. Rather than talking across a distance, why not suggest a seating shuffle after each course?
  • Give your senses a break. To avoid overwhelm find somewhere quiet to take a rest. A more in depth 1-2-1 conversation will be easier here too.
  • Put your best ear forward. That is if your hearing loss is one sided (Asymmetric). Position yourself if possible with your best ear closest to your companion.

Family dinners such as Thanksgiving offer quality time with loved ones. Your enjoyment should be the focus at these times, not your hearing loss. These tips should help you feel more involved and less anxious. If you have a hearing concern you would like to discuss, please call us on  212-755-5100, or click here to request your appointment.

Speak with a Specialist

Ready to start your journey to better hearing? Let our hearing care professionals find the right solution for you. If this sounds like you or a loved one, we can help. Call (212) 755-5100

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