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Five Tips for Dining Out with Hearing Loss

It can be hard to fully enjoy dinner with your family at Cook’s American Grill if you’re struggling to hear what they are saying. Unfortunately, restaurants can a difficult environment for people with hearing loss.

The good news is that there are ways to help yourself hear better and enjoy your dining experience.

Why Dining Out is Harder with Hearing Loss

Restaurants commonly are louder environments with a lot of background noise.

A study of 30 casual dining and quick service restaurants found that instantaneous sound levels varied from 58.1 dBA to 97.5 dBA. Only 23% of restaurants surveyed had sound levels low enough (60 dBA) to allow persons to converse without raising their voices.

Whether it’s clanking dishware, live music, or other diners all talking at once, it can be overwhelming. People with hearing loss can struggle to tune out the extra noise and focus on the conversation with their dining companions.

Use Hearing Aids When Dining Out

Hearing aids provide the most help to people with hearing loss in any environment, including restaurants. They can amplify the voices of those you are dining with and can be programmed to help suppress background noise that makes it harder to hear.

Pick a Quiet Restaurant

It may be helpful to do a little research on restaurants in Shawnee County to find one that best suits you. You can find out what the layout is, whether or not they have live music, and what other patrons have said about noise levels.

Timing is Everything

In addition to finding the right environment, it can also be helpful to choose a time to go out that isn’t during the restaurant’s busiest hours. Scheduling a later lunch or an earlier dinner should make for a quieter and more enjoyable experience.

Consider Your Seating Arrangements

A round table where you can see everyone’s face can make conversation easier. Similarly, a table in the corner or located by a wall is often quieter because it can act as a barrier to some of the restaurant noise.

Be Open with Your Dining Companions

Even by taking the necessary steps to make communication easier, you still might have trouble hearing if the restaurant gets especially noisy. It’s OK to ask the people you’re dining with (as well as your server) to speak louder or repeat what they’ve said. Advocate for your needs and try to enjoy the company and the food as much as possible.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Topeka ENT today.


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