Living with hearing loss can make enjoyable activities very difficult. You may have difficulty following conversations, especially in venues with lots of background noise, like restaurants. This is why many people with hearing loss experience social withdrawal, which can ultimately lead to depression and even cognitive decline.
Below are some tips to help you better enjoy dining out when you have hearing loss:
Do Your Research
The first thing you should do is look for a restaurant that isn’t loud and doesn’t amplify sound. You can look at photos of venues online to see if they have open floor plans, exposed wood and concrete floors, which will echo sounds and make hearing more difficult, or if they have drapery, table cloths and carpet, which will better absorb sounds.
You can also use apps like Soundprint or iHEARu to find out which restaurants in your area have a quiet rating. These apps crowdsource information about average sound levels in restaurants at different times of day.
Advocate for Yourself
When you make a reservation, be forthcoming about the fact that you or someone in your group has a hearing impairment. Requesting tables in the corner or near a wall is beneficial because they tend to be less noisy than the ones in the middle of a restaurant. You can also request that the restaurant turns down their music. Keep in mind they will likely be more accommodating to these requests if you visit during a time when business is slower.
Consider Table Arrangement
While eating out in large groups is fun, it makes following conversations much more difficult. Try to limit groups to four to six people. It is also helpful for the hearing-impaired person to sit toward the center of the group so they can hear everyone more easily, as well as with their back against a wall so background noise is limited. Round tables make it easier for everyone to hear one another and also allows easier lip reading.
While these tips can be helpful in helping a hearing-impaired individual enjoy dining out again, today’s hearing aids are great for diminishing background noises and clarifying speech. To talk to a provider about what else hearing devices can offer, call Hearing Health Centers today!