For anyone who wears a hearing aid or is in need of one, dining out can be a miserable experience. Even with the additional amplification that an assistive listening device provides, background noise can easily cause conversation to get lost in the ruckus. For those without the amplification, it can be nearly impossible to follow along with quiet table conversation. Thankfully, it isn’t impossible. It does, however, take some work. If you cringe at the thought of going to a restaurant, here are some tips that could let you once again enjoy this popular pastime.
Choose the Restaurant Carefully
You’re fighting a losing battle if you wear a hearing aid and think you’re going to have an enjoyable dinner at a noisy bar-and-grill type of establishment. Even those with perfect ears often have difficulty following conversation at one of these places. Between loud music and raucous customers, listening to the person sitting across from you becomes an exercise in futility. So avoid those places altogether. Pick a quiet place where more emphasis is put on providing a soft atmosphere than making sure everyone is too frazzled to think about the quality of their food.
Face Your Dining Partners
One of your biggest allies in the fight to communicate well is your vision. This isn’t a problem if you’re dining out with a single partner, but it can become a challenge if you’re going out with several people. In that case, you don’t need to make a production of sitting on one side of the table while everyone else sits on the other. If it gets to that point, you can hardly be blamed for wanting to stay home. Rather, just be cognizant of turning to face your companions when they are speaking. Following multiple conversation threads is always going to be very difficult, but you can succeed when it comes to following one.
Hit The Slow Times
If you think you’re going to enjoy your conversation at 7:00 PM on Saturday night, you’re probably going to be disappointed. So don’t try to fight the facts. Instead, pick times where fewer people will be crowding the restaurant. Eat dinner at 4:00 or at 8:00 or later. This lets you dine before or after the primary rush and should give you a better chance at a quiet environment. If you wear a hearing aid or have auditory loss that is known by those you hang out with, they should be willing to accommodate your request.