9 Tips to Hear Better in a Noisy Restaurant
Do you like to dine out with friends and loved ones? Dining out can be one of the most enjoyable social activities, if only you can keep up with the conversation in all the noise. And if you have hearing loss, it is almost impossible to follow a conversation in a noisy restaurant, especially with the clanging of dishes and cutleries, background music and overlapping voices.
To make your next dinner much more enjoyable, follow these 9 easy tips:
Control Your Environment
1. Choose a quieter restaurant
If you can’t hear well in a noisy restaurant, then make a decision to go to a quieter restaurant. If you can’t tell if a restaurant is noisy or not, look online for their interior photos. If there are soft carpeting on the floor, acoustic tiles on the ceiling, curtains on the window, tablecloths and booths, it is more likely to be quieter. Better yet, try calling and ask if their restaurant is “conversation-friendly” or not. While you are on the phone with their staff, try to hear if it is noisy in the background.
2. Choose a quieter time
Sometimes, you really want to dine out at a nice restaurant with good food. Nice restaurants tend to be busy and crowded. If that’s the case, try not to go during peak dinner hours. You can call up the restaurant and ask the staff what time is the peak dinner hours, and then make your reservation earlier or later to avoid the rush. This way, the restaurant will be quieter when you are having a conversation with your dinner companion(s).
Ask and You Shall Receive
3. Ask for a quieter area/corner
What happens when you are not in the position to decide the venue and the time? You can call up the restaurant beforehand and notify them that you wish to be seated at a quieter area. Some restaurants have extra meal area tucked away from the main area or on another floor. You can also ask them to seat you away from the noises, such as the kitchen, bar, fan, air-conditioner and loud speakers. Being seated at a corner is also another option to get away from the center of the restaurant activity.
4. Ask for a well-lit area
What does light have anything to do with hearing conversation in a noisy restaurant? Light provides you with visual cues. Reading lips and facial expression are useful for non-verbal communication. When you are sitting in a well-lit area, you could understand the conversation better by combining what you hear and what you see.
5. Ask the staff to turn down the music
Some restaurants play music to create a mood or to provide entertainment for the diners. If the music is making it difficult for you to have a conversation, you can politely ask the staff to turn down the music. If you are sitting too close to the loud speakers, you can try request to be seated somewhere farther away from the music.
Choose Your Seat
6. Face the wall instead of from the crowd
Now that you are at your table, ideally near a quiet area in the corner, where should you sit? Facing the crowd or facing the wall? If you sit facing to the crowd, you will hear all the overlapping voices from, not just from your dinner companion(s), but also from all the other diners on other tables. Therefore, it is best to sit facing the wall, with your dinner companion(s) in front of you. This will put room noise behind you.
7. Don’t sit at the end of the table
If you are dining with a large group of people, you can request not to be seated at the ends of the table. It is very difficult to hear the conversation from one end to the other, so try to sit in the middle. Sitting in the middle gives you the best chance to hear the conversation in a noisy restaurant. If there is someone important in the group, you can also sit next to that person for easier conversation.
Get Hearing Help
8. Get your hearing aids checked and adjusted
When you find yourself always having trouble hearing in noisy restaurant, be sure to get your hearing aids checked. First things first, hearing aids have to be at least functioning, for them to help you; Or else, they would just become ear plugs! Next, you need to let your audiologist know about your experience, so that your hearing aids can be adjusted accordingly and correctly. You are more than welcome to speak to our caring audiologist.
9. Additional functions
Hearing aid technology is constantly improving at a rapid pace. There are many features, such as directionality, background noise reduction, automatic program etc. that can help you hear much better in noisy environment. With all the features for different situations, it can become confusing to decide which ones are suitable for you. Our audiologist can guide you through to get the most customised options for your communication and listening needs.
Do you have your own special tricks to make having a conversation much easier in a noisy restaurant? Feel free to let us know below what works best for you.
If your hearing loss is affecting your life, you can always contact us for a hearing test and a consultation with our caring audiologist.