Jingle bells or silent night?

The festive season is upon us – for many it’s a time to celebrate and connect with loved ones. But for some people, dining in restaurants, and attending family gatherings can be frustrating and exhausting if you can’t hear all the conversation. Dr Annemarie AuD, owner and audiologist at Hearlix in Balmain, has the following tips to help.

For meals at restaurants:
• Request a booth or corner table away from the entrance or kitchen.
• Choose an off-peak time, for example a late lunch at 2pm.
• Check the menu ahead of time, that way you can be more actively present at the restaurant to follow the conversation.
• If you wear hearing aids, position yourself with the noisiest part of the restaurant behind you. Hearing aids have directional microphones – this positioning will ensure they are working to maximum capacity.
For the family meals at home:
• Adopt a relaxed and positive attitude. Being tired and stressed can negatively affect your understanding.
• See the dinner as a time for conversation with only people near you at the table.
• Reduce the noise as much as possible or ask the host to do it. For example, turn off the radio, television, or sound system, or turn the volume down.
• Ask specific questions to help you anticipate the response. For example, instead of asking “What’s new?” say “How is work?” or “How are your kids?”
If someone you know has trouble hearing, try to keep these tips in mind:
• Make an effort to keep side conversations to a minimum.
• Rephrase what you said, instead of repeating the exact same sentence. This gives your listener more information to understand your message better.
• Keep your hands away from your mouth. Your facial expressions and body language add vital information to the message being conveyed.
• Before starting a conversation, say the person’s name so you can get their attention first.
• You might be surprised by just how much of a difference it can make to have correct lighting. If you have a window behind you, the strong light shadows your face, making it very difficult to lip read.

Annie 0017 2If you or a loved one have difficulty hearing, see Dr Annemarie Lindner AuD at Hearlix. Whether it’s a hearing test, ear cleaning or measuring your ability to hear in noisy environments – she’ll make sure this Christmas won’t be a silent night!

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