5 Tips for Dining Out With Hearing Aids

This blog has been reviewed and approved by a hearing healthcare professional.

When dining out with hearing aids, the noise in your surrounding environment can be frustrating. Multiple speakers, open kitchens and other distracting background noises can make it difficult to keep up with conversations. 

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to make dining out more enjoyable. Here are five tips on dining out with hearing aids to help improve your dining experience.

Pick a Booth
If the option is available, try to sit in a booth. The high backs of the booths will help to block some of the sounds which can drown out your conversation. Plus, booth seats are normally made from a softer material that can dampen noise. Overall, booths are less noisy than sitting at a table and are more comfortable.
Sit in a Quiet Area

Try to sit in a quieter area of the restaurant. Seats that are up against walls are naturally quieter than areas that have sounds coming in from all sides. Try to avoid sitting near the kitchen as the kitchen is normally the loudest place in the restaurant. You can also look around for details that can help minimize background noise like:

  Carpets

  Curtains

  Tablecloths

  Seat cushions

  Other materials that are noise-absorbing

 

All these items can make it easier to tune out sounds and concentrate on your conversation.


Sit Facing Away From Noise
Most hearing aids are made with a directional microphone. This helps you hear more clearly when background noise is present, so you can better hear the person you’re facing. Therefore, it is helpful to have your dining partner sit across from you, preferably with their back to a wall, so their voice is the only sound coming from in front of you.
Take the Best Seat at the Table
Take a seat at the table which allows you to see as many faces as possible. This allows you to see people's lips while they are speaking. Brighter lighting can help you pick up on visual cues, and most of the time the best seat is next to someone who can help fill you in on parts of the conversation you may miss.
Use Noise Reduction Programs
You can use the noise reduction settings on your hearing aids to reduce the amplification of background sounds as needed. Some hearing aids may allow for multiple sound settings that can be programmed for different environments.  It will allow you to soften the background noise in noisy environments such as restaurants and patios. If you are unsure if your hearing aid has this technology, you can contact your hearing healthcare professional for assistance.
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