Dining out can be noisy and overwhelming, especially if you struggle with hearing loss. But, rather than giving up and staying at home, follow these tips to make it easier and more enjoyable. All it takes is some preparation and choices that suit your needs.
Choose a Restaurant Carefully
Although the available food options are important, to enjoy it you need the best environment.
- Ask friends with hearing loss for recommendations, read reviews online, particularly those that mention the environment was good for chatting.
- Study photos – look for traditional decor that absorbs sound i.e. Carpet, curtains, cushioned chairs, booths, chairs with rollers on the legs, plants, carpeted walls or acoustic tiles.
- Look for well-lit areas; non-verbal cues (such as facial expressions and body language) are extremely important to facilitate communication – so you definitely want to see people.
- Avoid large open spaces that echo i.e. high ceilings and hardwood floors. Also avoid televisions and sports bars.
- Pick the best day and time (not Friday nights!) to dine out.
- Choose to dine with a smaller party.
Inside the Restaurant
Give yourself the best chance of enjoyment by getting the positioning right.
- When booking, explain your needs. Ask for a quiet table away from the kitchen, bar, and wait service stations.
- Corner tables or booths are ideal – both limit environmental sounds and barrier distractions too.
- The edges of the room are quieter than the center.
- If your table is not ideal – don’t be afraid to ask to move.
- Request background music be turned down (other patrons will probably prefer this too!).
- Ask the waiter/waitress for a printed list of the specials.
- Mention you have hearing loss to the staff and your party, request they slow down a bit, speak a little bit louder, and face you directly.
Hearing loss shouldn’t stop you enjoying life. Socializing with friends and family is proven to help lift your mood. We have a wide range of products, and understand how daunting everyday activities can seem. So let’s discuss your personal hearing needs and improve your confidence to venture out. Request an appointment today, or contact us at 212-755-5100.