Dining Out for People with Hearing LossAudiology by Accent
Dining out with a hearing loss
Millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss, and many wear hearing aids. While hearing aids can help people to hear better and to understand what others are saying to them, they might not work as well when people are eating out at restaurants. Modern restaurants tend to use decorative details such as glass and hard flooring that allow sound to echo off of them. When you combine these types of decorative features with the sounds of people loudly talking, silverware, and dinnerware, the sounds can quickly overwhelm the ability of people with hearing loss to have conversations with their friends and loved ones while dining out. There are several things that people with hearing loss can do when they are preparing to dine out with friends or family.
Look for quiet restaurants
Some restaurants now have ratings for loudness. You can research restaurants in your area to see what type of loudness rating that they might have and choose one with a quieter rating. You can also look for a restaurant that uses old-fashioned decor, including carpeting, padded seats, tablecloths, and curtains because these types of features help to absorb sound and can make the experience more enjoyable for you.
Tell the restaurant about your hearing loss
When you make a reservation, tell the restaurant that you have a hearing loss and would prefer a quiet table. Remind the restaurant that you want a quieter table when it calls to confirm your reservation, and remind the host or hostess again once you arrive. If the table is too loud, ask to be moved. Request that the server shows you the specials in writing instead of explaining them orally.
Ask for a round table in the corner
A table in the corner helps to make the dining experience quieter because the wall helps to block some of the sounds. If you sit with your back to the wall, you can also limit distracting noises from behind you. If the restaurant has a round table available in the corner, this can be even better. Dining at a round table helps you to hear what your friends and family members are saying since everyone will be facing the center of the table. You can also sit in the middle of a large group and ask people who are more difficult for you to hear to sit across from you so that you can read their lips.
Ask for technology help
You can ask your audiologist to create a restaurant program for your hearing aids to block out background noise so that you can hear voices more easily in noisier settings. You can also use speech-to-text apps on your phone or ask your guests to wear microphones that remotely connect to your hearing aids.
Having a hearing loss can present some obstacles when you are planning to dine out with your friends or family at a restaurant. However, these obstacles can be overcome and should not prevent you from going out to eat. If you believe that you might have a hearing loss and need hearing aids, contact us today to learn about your options by scheduling a consultation.