A lot of my friends ask me about this issue and I am never sure how to answer: how can I make large family gatherings of hearing relatives enjoyable? I tend to find myself ignored and excluded … it gets so bad, I always leave early.
Gosh – if I knew the answer I’d be a millionaire! It is something that bugs nearly everyone I know and it regularly comes up in Deaf Awareness (by hearing people). The answer, as you know, is simple – speak clearly, include the deaf person and repeat when necessary (without rolling your eyes).
The reality is maddening. I remember a deaf person telling me years ago she always took a video (not DVD!) with her to her family so she could watch something whilst her family got on with things. That really shocked me, but won’t be an unfamiliar story to lots of people.
My advice is the same as when with groups of people (at work for example): find one ally who will repeat things for you, sit opposite them or sit opposite the family member who talks the most (or the Chair at work), smile and say “what have I missed?” and accept your tolerance level will last for about an hour.