Conversations at a loud restaurant can be difficult, even for people with normal hearing. It is even more difficult for people with hearing loss, and even more so if your hearing loss is in the high-frequencies. Many of today’s hearing aids automatically filter out unwanted noise allowing you to hear and understand what’s important. Here are some other tips for better communication in these situations.
Tips for hearing and understanding better at a loud restaurant.
- Choose your restaurant carefully. The more echo and reverberation present at a restaurant, the more difficult it is to understand speech. Restaurants with carpeting, acoustic tiles on the ceiling, curtains, and tablecloths make it easier to understand conversations. Try to choose a well lit restaurant so you can see non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language that are so important to understanding others.
- Limit the size of your party. Being in large groups may make it more difficult to keep up with conversations. In smaller groups, it is easier to maintain eye contact and focus on the person speaking making it easier to engage in conversation.
- Choose a booth over a table. The high backs of booths will block some of the environmental sounds that can drown out conversations. Also, booth seating is typically made of softer material that can dampen noise. If you’re seated at a table, you don’t get those benefits and there are no obstacles to the various sounds of the restaurant interfering with your ability to hear.
- Make a reservation and request a quiet spot. A table a little further from the action will allow for more intimate conversation. You will be more easily able to tune out sounds and focus on the conversation at your table. Ask ahead of time if the restaurant plays loud music, and if so, consider another place. At the very least you’ll be prepared so you’ll know what to expect.
- Avoid sitting near the kitchen. The kitchen is often the noisiest place in a restaurant. Request a spot as far from the kitchen as possible, so you’re not forced to yell over the noise.
- Tell your server you have a hearing loss. If you have hearing loss or wear hearing aids, ask your server to maintain eye contact and enunciate clearly.
- Limit the amount that you drink. Alcohol travels to the brain and blocks the parts that process sound. It becomes harder to hear, especially if those around you have had a little too much to drink and are slurring their speech.
- If you’re wearing hearing aids, sit with your back to the room/noise. Most hearing aids have directional microphones designed to help you hear better in the presence of background noise. Most operate with the assumption that you will be facing the speakers you most want to hear. The system will then provide emphasis to sounds/voices coming from in front of you and reduce sounds from behind you. It’s even more helpful to have your companion with their back to a wall, so their voice is the only sound coming from in front of you. You will get the best results if you position yourself in a way to take advantage of this feature.
If you are experiencing difficulty with conversations at a loud restaurant, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing screening with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.