Enjoying Dining Out with Hearing Loss

When you have hearing loss, loud, bustling environments like a busy restaurant can often prove challenging for enjoying a meal out with friends or family. Try these practical tips to help minimize the noise and create the best possible hearing environment to enjoy your evening out.

Eat at a less busy time
Typically, a restaurant’s busiest times are from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Consider visiting your favorite restaurant before or after the dinner rush or on weeknights. The fewer patrons in the dining room, the less background noise there will be to disrupt your conversation.

Consider the decor
When possible, select restaurants with lower ceilings that are decorated with carpeting, drapery or plants. These types of decorating touches not only look nice, they help dampen sound throughout the dining room, cutting down on background noises.

Where to sit?
Seating can make a big difference in the noise level of a dining area. If the restaurant has booths, request to sit at a booth instead of at a table. Booths are usually more secluded than tables, reducing some of the sound around you and allowing you to focus on the people you are dining with. Ask your host to seat you away from the entry-way, kitchen or bar. These areas of a restaurant are heavily traveled, which can be distracting when you’re trying to have a conversation at the table.

Tell your server
If you’re comfortable, tell your server that you have hearing loss. He or she may be able to provide a printed list of the specials or turn the background music down. Your waiter will also know to speak clearly and not cover their face to help facilitate communication.

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