One of the more challenging listening situations for individuals with a hearing loss is trying to communicate in a restaurant. Even the most elegant restaurants tend to be on the noisy side. Numerous conversations are going on all around you, dishes and silverware are constantly clanging and music is playing in the background. And being in a seated position eliminates your ability to move closer to the person or persons you want to hear.
Plan ahead by picking a quieter restaurant. For example, unless you’re content to read the captioning on the televisions, avoid sports bars.
Try to find carpeted restaurants that have chairs with rollers on the legs (helps to prevent an annoying scraping sound when they are moved), plants, and sound absorbent materials on the tables and walls.
Make reservations ahead of time, and ask for accommodations.
Go to your favourite restaurants, so you already know their specialities and options, such as choices of salad dressings or side dishes.
Look on the restaurants website to preview the menu.
Choose to dine with a smaller number of dining partners.
Pick a table in the least noisy part of the restaurant (e.g., away from the kitchen, bar, wait service stations, etc.).
Ask for seating in a well-lit area.
Remember that even people with normal hearing experience greater difficulty in a noisy listening environment than they do in a quiet listening environment. So, dont expect to do as well with your hearing aids in the noisy restaurant as you do in the quiet of your home.
Sit with your back to the window, so that lighting is on the speakers face, not in your eyes.
Request that staff turn down background music (you are probably not the only patron bothered by the volume of the music).
When possible, indicate choices before youre asked. Examples: Id like a salad with Italian dressing or I would like a burger, no fries.
Ask the waiter/waitress for a printed list of the specials of the day.
If restaurant dining is for business, request to meet in a quieter location.
Enjoying the company of your friends and family is important to your well being. By following the tips above and with a little pre-planning, dining out can be more of a pleasure and less of a burden. Do all that you can to ensure that your dining experience, at least the listening part is a great one.