Tips for enjoying a loud restaurant when you wear hearing aids
Restaurants are havens for gathering places. Nothing compares to meaningful conversation over a delicious meal, except if you're dealing with hearing loss. Dining at a loud restaurant or even a typically quiet local hangout during rush hour can be distressing for those trying to spend time with their friends and family. Here are some tips for enjoying a loud restaurant when you have hearing loss.
Scope the Scene
If you plan to visit a restaurant for the first time, carry out an online search of the venue. Note any reviews mentioning "a loud environment" or "noisy restaurant." Visit the establishment's website and browse through the dining area pictures.
Notice the layout of the tables and how close they are to each other. Notice if there's a ceiling or an exposed roof, as an open ceiling will increase sound, but a lower ceiling will absorb sound and reduce noise.
Review your favourite restaurant's menu well in advance. Obtain an online copy and review the options available. Knowing the type of food served at a restaurant can help inform the time frame for your visit.
If a restaurant serves pizza, they will be popular on Friday nights; instead, opt for a Tuesday afternoon or even a Saturday brunch when the guest flow is lighter.
Location, Location, Location
To enjoy your meal, make sure you pick your seat. Inform the hostess of your preferred seating area due to your hearing. You can even ask them what they believe to be the quietest area.
Avoid sitting near loud music, under a ceiling fan, or air vent. If you're dining with a large group, aim to sit in the middle. Sitting at the end of the table can increase surrounding ambient noise stemming from the bar, kitchen, or hostess area.
Choose a Well-Lit Area
Select a well-lit dining area, preferably near the window or other reflective surfaces. This will help you see other people’s faces. Select a seating place right across from the person you want to speak to for better facial and lip-reading cues.
Changes to your hearing can put people at a disadvantage, but that doesn't mean you stop living your life. It just means you work differently. And sometimes, your accommodations make for a better experience than what others receive.
Thankfully restaurants have tables and chairs that can be easily reconfigured to meet your needs. Just be transparent and communicative about what works best for you. After all, you're their guest.
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