Couple eating at restaurant
Restaurants can be very noisy, with sounds coming from all directions. There’s the background noise of diners talking, the clatter of dishes and glasses, and often loud music playing overhead as people move around and chairs scrape against the floor. Even the chef’s sounds may be audible, especially in trendy open-kitchen restaurants where noise can spill into dining areas.

If you have hearing loss or wear hearing aids, dining in a lively restaurant can make hearing more challenging. You can expect seamless conversations with those around you if you are prepared. To help you navigate the noise, here are a few tips.

1. Select the restaurant

If you’re doing the planning, try to pick a restaurant that is quiet rather than a noisy corner bar and grill.

Select restaurants with low ceilings and a kitchen that is out of view to patrons. High booths are another excellent feature to look for in cutting down the echo effects and improving acoustics to lessen the disruptions.

Be sure to look at the online reviews. Many places implement noise ratings, ambiance, and lighting in their reviews. These are great for those affected by lighting or noise.

2. Sitting in the proper position

Sitting around outside the restaurant rather than the center will help eliminate some background noise. Furthermore, if you can sit in a booth rather than chairs, the booths can soften some of the echo and reverberance in the restaurant.

Here are a few seating options to keep in mind:

Man in restaurant
  • Avoid sitting by the kitchen, as it is generally the loudest area of the restaurant.
  • By sitting outside, you avoid the middle of the restaurant, which can have people on all sides of you.
  • Sit with your back to as much noise as possible, facing the person you speak to. This will help you focus on what they are saying and the directional mics in your hearing aids to focus on their voice.

3. Consider an assistive listening device

If you have severe to profound hearing loss, it’s essential to know that hearing aids may not always be enough in large group meetings where multiple speakers need to be heard, especially in noisy restaurants.

However, an assistive listening device could be a game-changer for you. Its receiver can amplify sound to a loop worn around the listener’s neck. The microphone can be placed in the center of the table or used by whoever is speaking. Rest assured, a hearing specialist can help you determine whether this device works with your hearing aids or is appropriate for your needs.

Assistive listening device

4. Check your hearing aids before you leave

Most hearing aids that use disposable batteries will warn you when the battery is running low. Therefore, keeping at least one spare battery with you at all times is recommended to prevent being disconnected from communication. On the other hand, if your hearing aids are rechargeable, it is essential to charge them according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure they work correctly.

Finally, don’t worry.

Eating out can be a stressful experience for individuals wearing hearing aids. However, it’s important to remember that whoever you’re dining with likely wants to be heard as much as you want to listen. Staying calm will help you stay focused and take the necessary steps to improve your hearing ability. Take a deep breath, smile, and advocate for yourself. Be honest and prepared, and most importantly, enjoy the food.

Salem Audiology Clinic can help. Call us today at (971) 701 – 6322 and find out what solutions are waiting for you.