Family dinner

April 15, 2016

Souper famille

For hearing-impaired people

  • Adopt a relaxed and positive attitude. Being tired and stressed will negatively affect your understanding.
  • See the dinner as a time for conversation with people near you at the table.
  • Advise the people you talk to that you have a hearing problem or remind them gently.
  • Tell others if you think you’ll have more trouble following the conversation, e.g., “I’m tired today, so it’s harder for me to follow” or “It’s noisy here. I’m sorry, but I will have to ask you to repeat frequently.”
  • If you have hearing aids, use them.
  • Reduce the noise as much as you can or ask the host to do it. For example, turn off the radio, television, or sound system, or turn them down. Close doors and windows. Ask others to avoid making unnecessary noises.
  • If the lighting seems inadequate to see your partners’ faces well, turn it up or ask your host to do it.
  • Ask people to talk one at a time.
  • Ask people not to talk with their mouths full.
  • Pick the right seat at the table:
    • Sit where you can see your partners’ faces.
    • Sit near the people you will be talking to the most.
    • If you hear better with one ear than the other, sit with your “good” ear facing the person you will be talking to the most.
  • Ask someone you feel comfortable with to repeat the information you did not understand or to help you follow the conversation.
  • Ask others to look at you and not to cover their lips when they are talking.
  • Break into subgroups of 2–3 people for discussions and change groups when needed.
  • Ask specific questions. For example, instead of asking, “What’s new?” say, “How is work, how are your kids, how is home?”
  • Verify your understanding during the conversation, e.g., “So, if I understood correctly…” or “You are talking about…”
  • At the end of the meal, ask one person to stay so you can talk and ask them to repeat important information (e.g., date of the next family gathering).
  • Ask to be advised when there is a sudden change in the topic of conversation.
  • Find the people speaking and look at them.

For conversation partners

  • Make sure to have the attention of hearing-impaired people before talking to them.
  • Look at them when you talk so they can read your lips.
  • If you see that hearing-impaired people have not understood a message:
    • Repeat it once as you said it initially.
    • If the person still does not understand, reformulate it.
    • Ask the person what part of the message they did not understand well.


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Communication with friends and family