Hearing Loss in Social Settings

Tim and Janis Gaule

In this month’s article, we would like to point out a very good article that has several suggestions for handling the challenges of hearing loss in social settings. The article was published by the Cleveland Clinic, and it is titled “How to Navigate Hearing Loss in Social Settings.” If you do a web search for the title, you should be able to find the article.

We would encourage you to read the article but would like to point out some key suggestions that Tim has found helpful. One suggestion was where to sit in a restaurant. Tim has always tried to find a table or booth that is in a corner or against the wall. He tries to sit with his back to the wall. In the article, it is pointed out that it is better to sit facing the wall. That way, the restaurant noise is behind you and the people that you want to talk to are in front of you. The author of the article points out that hearing device microphones pick up more of what is in front of you because they are programmed to assume that you want to hear the person in front of you.

The author states that it is best to tell the person you are speaking with to “speak slower, not louder.” Speaking louder is not clearer and oftentimes further distorts the sound. “Clearer, well-enunciated speech is always going to be more effective.”

The author points out that a remote microphone may be helpful. Tim owns a Phonak Roger On, which is a remote microphone for Phonak hearing devices. It does help him focus on the person who is speaking, but he has found that it can get overwhelming in a large group. It does work well with a small group of people in a restaurant. Tim often asks for an empty glass so he can position his microphone above most of the items on the table. The author recommends that it is better to hang out in smaller groups.

We would be interested in hearing comments or questions that you may have relative to this article. Our contact email is [email protected]. Also, please email us if you can’t find the article on the Internet, and we will be happy to email a link. This is also a topic that we would be happy to discuss further at one of our monthly meetings. The Discussion Group for Better Hearing meets on the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Sonoran Room at MountainView clubhouse. For more information, contact Jennifer Jefferis at [email protected] or Lyle Larson at [email protected].