Going out for a meal with family or friends somewhere like Palmers Fresh Grill is a great way to have fun and connect with others. However, if you have hearing loss, a busy restaurant environment can make it difficult to communicate.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help yourself hear better and enjoy your dining experience.
Why it’s Harder To Hear in Restaurants
The main reason restaurants are difficult for people with hearing loss is because of the background noise. From plates and glasses clanking to music playing, not to mention all the other voices of other patrons echoing at once, it can feel almost impossible to tune out the extra noise and focus on the conversation with your dining companions.
A study of 30 casual dining and quick service restaurants found that instantaneous sound levels varied from 58.1 dBA to 97.5 dBA. Only 23% of restaurants surveyed had sound levels low enough (60 dBA) to allow persons to converse without raising their voices.
Hearing Aids Make Dining Out Easier
Hearing aids can go a long way to helping you hear better when dining out. They can help amplify the voices of speakers closest to you so you can better hear those you are dining with. Additionally, hearing aids can be programmed to help suppress background noise and eliminate feedback, making communication easier.
Using other assistive listening devices like personal FM systems may be helpful as well. Ask your hearing professional if your hearing aids are equipped to pick up the FM signal and if this technology might be helpful to you.
Other Ways To Improve Dining Experience if You Have Hearing Loss
In addition to using hearing aids, there are other ways to help improve your dining experience.
- Do research to find quieter restaurants in your area
- When you make your reservation or before you are seated, mention that you have hearing loss and would prefer a quiet table
- Request a table near the corner or beside a wall to act as a barrier against some of the restaurant noise
- Ask for a round table. This helps you see everyone’s face and makes communication easier
- Avoid dining out during peak hours.
- Limit the group size. While dining out in big groups is fun, it will be easier to follow conversations between two or three people as opposed to 10.
For more information on improving your ability to hear in restaurants or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call The Hearing & Speech Center today.