The most common listening situation that patients with hearing loss have in common are loud and noisy restaurants. Imagine you go out with friends or family for a nice meal and all you hear is noise! This situation is not only frustrating but causes many individuals to stop going to restaurants altogether. Here are some tips and tricks for managing noise in a loud restaurant.
First of all, a baseline hearing test is recommended to rule out hearing loss. A noisy restaurant is difficult even for individuals with normal hearing. Add a hearing loss on top of that and you’re in an even more challenging situation. If it turns out that you have hearing loss then hearing aids may help significantly in noisy settings. Your audiologist is able to program a special listening program in your hearing aids to use when you are in restaurants. This program will help reduce unwanted background noise and emphasize important speech.
Additionally, when going to a loud restaurant, it is helpful to ask for a table on the perimeter of the restaurant as opposed to the center. This way you are only exposed to noise from one direction and not surrounded by it. If you are wearing hearing aids, you would then want to choose a seat at that table with your back to the noise, facing the wall. By doing this, your hearing aids can eliminate noise behind you and emphasize only the important speech coming from directly in front of you.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to combat noisy restaurants is to do your research and find restaurants in which you can hear well. Then when your friends and family want to eat out, you can suggest those restaurants that work well for you!