When you go out to eat at a restaurant, it is not only a culinary experience. You most likely will be enjoying your meal with others, and the social event can be a big part of what makes the meal enjoyable. Having an easy-going conversation with others at your table helps you enjoy your meal and not to feel stress, but hearing loss can make that conversation difficult. When you are struggling to hear what others have to say, it can even ruin the experience of the meal. Many restaurants make it particularly difficult to hear. They offer a combination of many voices talking at once, background music, the crash of pots and pans, and long tables where members of your group are talking at a distance. With this combination of circumstances, you might prefer to avoid restaurants altogether. Rather than dealing with this difficult sonic environment, you might prefer to order take-out and to eat at home. If you find yourself put off by these circumstances at restaurants, why not strategize how to make your meal more enjoyable? The following tips will help you have a better time in a restaurant despite hearing loss. Although these tips can be helpful, the only durable solution or hearing loss is to get professional treatment, so you can add a hearing test to the list of ways to improve your experiences of dining in restaurants.
Eliminating Difficult Circumstances
There are some things you can do to eliminate difficult circumstances in restaurants before you even arrive. One of the challenges of your meal can be the presence of other voices in close proximity. Many people with hearing loss have trouble discerning the voice of a speaker from other voices in the room. If you know you have trouble with this sonic dynamic, why not make a reservation for a table that is away from others? You can explain your situation to your server and ask for a seat that is as far away from noise as possible, not only including other diners but also speakers for background music, the noisy kitchen, or traffic on the street. You can also reduce the awkward interaction with the server by making some of your selections at home. If you know exactly what you want to order, including the options available and any dietary restrictions you need to disclose, then your conversation with the server will be as simple as possible. You can enlist the help of the restaurant staff by simply letting them know that you have hearing loss and may need some additional assistance if the restaurant is noisy.
Making the Most of Your Meal
When you arrive at the restaurant, you can assess the situation and try to strategize a good sonic environment for yourself. If you are dating with a group, then you can position yourself in the center of the table rather than at one of the ends. The closer you are to others in your group, the more easily you will be able to hear what they have to say. If you have a family member, loved one, or close friend in the group, you can enlist that person in a support role, as well. When the server comes, you might ask that person to place your order, and you can ask this person to relay questions or information from others in your group when the opportunity arises. Don’t hesitate to ask others for help communicating. Only you know the accommodations for hearing loss that will make your experience easier, and they will appreciate knowing what they can do to help.
Getting Treatment for Hearing Loss
Although these tips can go a long way toward an enjoyable meal in a restaurant, the only solution to the underlying problem of hearing loss is to get treatment. Starting with a hearing test, our hearing health professionals will assess your individual needs and pair you with the right hearing aids or other assistive technology to help you. When you have hearing aids in place, you might be surprised how well they work to improve your experience in a restaurant. Don’t hesitate to start in the direction of treatment to have a better meal next time.