Team Member

Tom Dixon

11th January 2016

Getting The Most Out Of Your Hearing Aids in Noisy Places

Dining out with your hearing aids

Cafes, restaurants, in fact most social places can be quite noisy, making it hard to hear and understand your companions even with normal hearing. When you are out for dinner or even grabbing a quick bite, it can be really difficult to hear your companions in a busy eatery especially on a large table. However, for people with hearing loss, conversation while eating at a restaurant can be both frustrating and tiresome.

Letting your hearing aids work for you

There is a lot of competing noise in cafes or restaurants, the background music, the noise from the kitchen, and conversations of other diners can overpower your conversation. Even for people with normal hearing this can be a problem. When you have hearing aids it can be really difficult. Trying to concentrate on someone's speech can be really exhausting, however, if you give your hearing aids the best chance to work for you, it will make things so much easier. 

Make the restaurant work for you

Picking the right restaurant can also help you a great deal, rooms with lots of soft furnishings such as carpets and drapes offer a much better acoustic environment for hearing aid users. Those soft furnishings soak up sound to a certain extent and don't reverberant or echo. You should also consider the lighting and seating in the room, for best understanding you need to be facing people in a well lit area. There are some tips that can make your dining out experience a far better one. 

A better dining experience with hearing aids

These tips from The Better Hearing Institute in America can help people with hearing loss have a much better experience :

Get The Best From Your Hearing Aids While Dining Out

  1. Pick your restaurant carefully, try to use carpeted restaurants or restaurants with  chairs with rollers on the legs, plants, and sound absorbent materials on the tables and walls.This restaurants have better acoustic conditions and they aren't so reverberant, this allows for better speech understanding. 
  2. Make your reservations early if possible, ask for a table in in a well-lit area in the least noisy part of the restaurant, this will help you by cutting down on competing noise sources. 
  3. Look on the restaurant’s website to preview the menu, and when you get there, ask the waiter or waitress for a printed list of the specials of the day.
  4. If you haven't been able to book, try to pick a table in the least noisy part of the restaurant (e.g., away from the kitchen, bar, wait service stations, etc.
  5. Ask for seating in a well-lit area, this will allow you to see your dinner companions' faces clearly. Being able to see their faces will help with understanding what they are saying.
  6. Don't forget, even people with normal hearing have trouble hearing in noise. So don’t expect to do as well with your hearing aids in the noisy restaurant as you do in the quiet of your home.
  7. Sit with your back to the window during the day, so that lighting is on the speaker’s face, not in your eyes. As we said, it helps your understanding if you can see their face. 
  8. Request that staff turn down background music if it is too loud (you are probably not the only person bothered by the volume of the music).
  9. Remind everyone that you have a hearing loss, tell them that it will help you if they slow down a bit, speak a little bit louder, and face you directly.
  10. When possible, indicate choices before you’re asked. Examples: “I’d like a salad with Italian dressing” or “I would like a burger, no fries.” If you anticipate the questions and speak before they are spoken you won't have to face not understanding.
  11. Use your directional microphones and your remote mic if you have one. If your hearing aids are set to directional, be sure to sit with your back to the main noise source. Directional features work by focusing to the front, that is why you should always try to keep your back to the noise. 
  12. Relax and enjoy the fine food and the company, even if you don’t catch every word. The less stressed you feel, the better the experience.

All of these tips can help you greatly with enjoying your experience. They will help you relax and enjoy the companionship. If you have any questions about using your hearing aids to better effect in noisy environments, give us a call on 01905 617803 or book an appointment online, we are always happy to help out. 

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