One of the more challenging listening situations for individuals with hearing loss is communicating in a restaurant. Even the most elegant restaurants tend to be on the noisy side. Conversations are occurring around you, dishes and silverware are clanging, and music is playing in the background. Being in a seated position also eliminates your ability to move closer to the person you want to hear. Below is a comprehensive list of helpful tips for diners with hearing loss.
Tips for Dining Out with Hearing Loss
- Plan by picking a quieter restaurant. Try to find carpeted restaurants that have chairs with rollers on the legs and sound absorbent materials on the tables and walls.
- Pick the best day and time to dine out. Avoid peak dining times when restaurants are the most crowded.
- Preview the restaurant’s website menu.
- Dine with a small number of dining partners.
- Pick a table in the least noisy part of the restaurant preferably away from the kitchen, bar or waitstaff areas.
- Ask for seating in a well-lit area.
- Sit with your back to the window so that lighting is on the speaker’s face, not in your eyes.
- When possible, indicate choices before asked. Example: “I’d like a salad with ranch dressing”.
- Ask the waitstaff for a printed list of the specials of the day.
- If you are dining out for business, request to meet in a quieter location.
Most of all, try to relax and enjoy the fine food and the company, even if you don’t catch every word. Enjoying the company of your friends and family is vital to your well-being. By following the above tips and with a bit of pre-planning, dining out can be more of a pleasure and less of a burden to ensure that your dining experience is a great one.