Communication Matters

6 Tips for Hearing in Restaurants

Laura L. Brady, AuD, CCC-A | Posted on January 26, 2018

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Many of our social interactions revolve around going out to eat; sharing a meal and time with friends and family. But, enjoying a quiet restaurant dining experience may seem nearly impossible. Trying to hold a conversation, hear others talking at your table or, hear and understand the wait-staff and hostess in noisy restaurants can prove challenging - even for normal hearing individuals.  If you are hearing impaired it becomes exponentially worse.

Below are some tips that will help everyone to hear better in a restaurant setting – whether you have normal hearing, are hearing impaired, and whether or not you wear hearing aids:

  • Day of the week and time of day can make a big difference. Dining on weekdays versus weekends means restaurant traffic is lighter, and will likely have fewer people seated near you. Therefore, 5:00 pm on a Tuesday would be much quieter than 7:00 pm on a Saturday.
  • Group size: A group of up to four people at a table is more manageable than larger groups. The larger the party, the more likely multiple conversations may be happening at the same time – causing more noise and confusion.
  • Table seating. Sitting directly across the table from the person you are most likely to be talking to allows for both improved hearing signals and the support of visual cues.
  • Table placement. When making a reservation (or arriving at the hostess stand) request a table in a quiet area, preferably away from the kitchen, bar and restrooms - areas that are likely to have more traffic, and therefore, more noise.
  • Booth versus table. Booths are generally better than tables as they offer more privacy and, generally, some degree of soundproofing.
  • The perimeter of a dining room will generally be less reverberant. Ask for a table near a wall or window and sit so that the noise is behind you – you should face the wall or window. This is particularly true if you are using hearing aids with directional microphone technology.


Learn more about Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)


Tags: Hearing Aid, Audiology, Hearing Aids, Communication, Hearing



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