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How To Enjoy The Restaurant Experience Regardless of Hearing Loss Symptoms

Restaurants present a huge frustration for many of our patients dealing with hearing loss. We have found that addition of hearing aids alone may not be enough to improve this social aspect of your life. The Doctors of Audiology with The Hearing and Balance Doctors of Saint George have a handful of tips for a more enjoyable outing the next time you eat out with friends and family.

Improve Restaurant Hearing With Your Seating

It can be surprising how much where you sit in a restaurant can impact your hearing, no matter what degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. But once you implement these tips, you should notice a clear difference in the sound quality of your restaurant experiences.

  • Choose perimeter seating – When you are seated in a centrally-located table, you are exposed on all sides to the sounds bouncing around the restaurant. By choosing a perimeter table, you have a solid side where sounds will not come from to your ears.
  • Pick a booth – Along with choosing perimeter seating, pick to sit at a booth whenever possible. The booth sides will help dampen sounds with the perimeter wall as well as allowing the soft cushions of the booth to absorb some of the sounds.
  • Face away from noise – If your hearing aids have directional microphones, position yourself with your back to the noisiest part of the room. Your hearing aids microphones will then face towards your dinner partners and not the general noise of the restaurant.

Choose Restaurants With “When and Where” In Mind

Where – Some restaurant settings are difficult for any patron to hear the conversation, not just those who are dealing with hearing loss.

  • Problem – Dim Lighting. Dimly lit restaurants can make it tough to catch nonverbal facial cues that normally help those with hearing loss to better follow the conversation.
    Solution – Look for restaurants with better lighting or ask to be seated where the ambiance is not so dark.
  • Problem – Sleek Surfaces. Restaurants with modern and sleek decor have a lot of hard surfaces for sound to bounce off of and making hearing confusing.
    Solution – Try out restaurants with a warmer decor theme. Soft textures like wood and brick will improve the acoustics in the room.
  • Problem – High Ceilings. High ceilings in a restaurant can create odd sound reverberations which can distort conversations.
    Solution – Compare the difference between a restaurant with high ceilings to those with low ceilings. You’ll be better able to hear those around you when ceilings are more standard heights.

When – Timing when you eat at a restaurant is important if you are looking to improve the hearing quality of your restaurant experiences.

  • Choose to eat out during slower hours. People with intact hearing can struggle to hear during busy dining hours, and the hearing struggle will be more acute for yourself.
  • On weekdays, restaurants are often slower and quieter.

A nice side bonus to choosing your restaurant times carefully is that you will likely receive faster service as you will not be competing with 50 other diners for your server’s attention.

Speak Up Concerning Your Hearing Needs

Sometimes it can feel awkward to ask for accommodations do to your hearing loss. But don’t be afraid to ask the hostess for a booth, or to have your server to turn down the music.

If you’re struggling to hear friends and loved ones around you, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our audiologists.

Our audiologists can offer you a variety of solutions do to improve your hearing, from repairs to helping you select a more appropriate set of hearing aids.

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