Restaurants and Hearing Loss

Restaurants and Hearing Loss

When you are comfortable in the quiet of your own home, you might not have much trouble communicating. Even those with hearing loss can do well in some of these settings without competing background noise or other voices in the room. However, certain settings can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to hearing loss, and restaurants are a common complaint. Not only is this a place focused on communication but some of the features of restaurants can make them particularly difficult for hearing. For instance, the din of voices can be quite loud, particularly on a busy weekend night. Background music is commonly added to set the ambiance, but that competing sound can make it even more difficult to hear. When you add the basic complications of social interactions with strangers, such as a server, a restaurant can be a source of anxiety and stress. Rather than letting this event cause you distress, why not consider a few helpful tips that can make it possible to enjoy a visit to a restaurant with minimal discomfort or struggle to communicate?

Planning Ahead 

There are a few steps you can take prior to your visit to the restaurant that make it much easier to communicate once you arrive there. First of all, you can make a reservation and request a quiet location within the room. Although some small restaurants don’t have a particularly quiet location, many hosts and hostesses will know which tables are the quietest. These locations might be away from other patrons, the kitchen, or a noisy street. Even if a quiet locale is not available, it can be helpful to let your host or hostess know that you have hearing loss. Making the staff aware of your needs is the first step toward getting the necessary help. You can even plan ahead with your order. Take a look at the menu and decide what you would like before you arrive. Knowing the details of your order can help make your interaction with the server much easier, avoiding the back-and-forth conversation where details can be lost. 

Making the Most of Your Meal 

Once you are in the restaurant, you might find that the quieter table helped you with conversation. However, you might need more help in this regard. If you can ask to sit in the middle of your group, you won’t need to strain so much to hear others from the end of the table. You might want to sit close to someone who you know can help you with your conversation, such as a trusted loved one. Don’t hesitate to disclose your hearing loss to your server, if necessary. When you are trying to communicate about your order, this disclosure can go a long way toward getting the right order in place. You can also ask the server to turn down the background music or a television in your vicinity if you think that will help your communication go more smoothly. 

Recruit Support

When you find yourself in a difficult listening environment, don’t forget that others are there to support you. Although you no doubt want to be able to communicate on your own terms, you might want to ask others at your table to help with your communication process. You can ask if a person sitting next to you will relay questions to you at a closer distance. You can also tell your order to a table-mate and ask that person to communicate with the server. The people enjoying a meal with you no doubt want everyone to have a good time, and helping you communicate is a big part of that enjoyment had by all. 

Treatment for Hearing Loss 

Although these tips can be helpful in many settings, you might find that they are no match for the challenges posed by your hearing loss. If you do not yet have treatment for hearing loss, that assistance is the only durable solution to your needs. Begin today by scheduling a hearing test with our hearing health professionals. We will use the results of that test to walk you through the process of seeking assistance and finding the right hearing aids to meet your individual needs.