Thanksgiving is a time for your family to gather and enjoy a great dinner together. It can also be a good time to talk to a loved one about their hearing loss. It helps both you and them to bring this issue up because the people they love are already gathered around to act as a support system.
There are several things you should do to make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier for your loved one who has trouble hearing. This way they can both enjoy dinner, better cope with the conversation, and see this discussion as coming from a place of love.
Preparing Your Home For a Thanksgiving Discussion
Making your home more comfortable for a person with hearing loss makes it easier for everyone to truly enjoy the occasion, and it sets the stage for an important family discussion. Make sure that any music is played at a low volume, as reducing background noise makes it easier to hear. Be sure to place your loved one closer to the middle of the table rather than at the end where most discussions occur further away. Be sure to tell other family members that the conversation is going to occur.
It could end up being very embarrassing for the person with hearing loss if they feel that the discussion has been sprung on them by just one family member. It also makes it easier for them to dismiss your concerns as the worries of one person. Similarly, be sure that other members of the family are prepared to join the discussion, and to do so with empathy.
The Discussion About Hearing Loss
It is very important that the discussion about hearing loss does not make your loved one feel singled out for what they may take as criticism. This is what makes Thanksgiving the perfect time to have the discussion. After telling your loved one that you are thankful to have them in your life, let them know that because you love them so much you want to talk about their hearing loss. Be empathetic and point out that you aren’t having the discussion to criticize them, but rather to help them enjoy a better quality of life.
Finally, talk to your loved one about ways they can cope with their hearing loss. Start out with tips about reducing noise distractions and learning how to ask for help when they are struggling with a conversation. When they’re more comfortable you may want to suggest more permanent solutions such as a hearing aid.
This is the time to make it clear again that the whole family will do its part to help out, because that’s what families are for. Offer to take your loved one to the doctor for a hearing test, and let them know you plan to be there every step of the way. This type of loving, helpful discussion is really what Thanksgiving is all about. Don’t let the opportunity to talk to your loved one in a supportive family setting slip away.