As a Masters Qualified Audiologist, I know firsthand the challenges that people with hearing loss face, especially when it comes to enjoying everyday activities like dining out. But fear not, my friends. Today, I’ll provide you with some helpful tips to help you enjoy your favourite restaurants, pubs and clubs with your loved ones.
First, venues with soft furnishings like carpets, tablecloths, curtains, or cushioned seats are best for people with hearing loss. And every little bit help. These materials absorb sound, reducing reverberation and background noise. Secondly, opt for a spot that is well lit. Seeing a person’s face while they talk provides visual cues that can help you better understand what’s being said.
When booking, ask for their quietest spot. Then choose a seat in the middle of the table, so you’re closer to everyone. Avoiding peak periods may also be a good idea, as fewer people means less noise.
Make your companions aware of your hearing loss. Most people are understanding and supportive when they know about your situation.
Finally, if you wear hearing aids, you may wish to consider a tabletop hearing accessory, which streams speech sound directly to your hearing aids whilst supressing background noise. Alternatively, speak to your Audiologist about setting up a program specifically for noisy environments that you can use when dining out.
Hearing loss can take the fun out of socialising, so find a hearing clinic dedicated to patient-centred care, clinical integrity and expertise with empathy. Working together with a motivated and skilled adult hearing rehabilitation audiologist, you can continue to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like dining out with friends and family.
Penelope is a passionate hearing health advocate and the founder of A Better Ear in Cleveland. Send your hearing health care questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and Penelope will answer them in a future column.