Dining out at your favorite restaurant and not having to cook a meal can be a very enjoyable experience. However, it can be daunting if you have trouble hearing. Don’t worry, we have tips for eating at restaurants when you have hearing loss. We will help you enjoy your meal out and make the most out of your time visiting with friends and family.
How Popular is Restaurant Dining?
From fast food to diners, to bistros, grills, and the like, there are plenty of restaurants and everyone has their favorite. Americans do eat out quite a bit. In fact, a Gallup poll in 2016 reported 61% of those surveyed at out at least once in the past week. This year, a Zagat survey reported that the number one complaint from diners (24%) was noise. So, if you have trouble hearing when you eat out, you are definitely not alone and should not be the least bit worried about asking for accommodations. You deserve to enjoy your meal and your time away from your kitchen. Here are 7 tips for eating at restaurants when you have hearing loss.
- Make reservations or call ahead. Even if a restaurant doesn’t take reservations, you can always call ahead and make a request. Let the host or hostess know when you are coming in and how large your party is. Explain you have hearing loss and it would really mean so much to you if they could help you with seating. Request a low traffic area away from the speakers, kitchen, and air conditioner. If possible, this area should be well lit.
- Ask to turn down the music. You probably want to choose a restaurant that doesn’t play loud music. However, even soft music can interfere with your hearing. Don’t be afraid to ask them to turn the music down. The restaurant may not be able to be that accommodating, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Remember whenever asking to be polite and understanding.
- Choose a booth over a table. Booths are more intimate and usually aren’t centrally located like tables are. Plus, booths often have high backs that will defer noise away from you. Unless your host or hostess recommends otherwise, choose a booth.
- Sit in the middle of your table. Especially if you have a big party you are dining with, try to sit in the middle rather than at the end. You have a better chance of hearing more people if you are at the center of the action.
- Request written specials. At many restaurants, the server will come over and announce the specials. You can ask the server, or even ask ahead of time for a written list of specials. This will eliminate asking the server to repeat his or herself over and over. Let’s face it, most people can’t hear what the server says when they come over and rattle off a memorized list of new dishes they just learned about.
- Avoid the crowds. Most restaurants are busy during the peak hours for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you can work around those times, you will have a less crowded, and therefore less noisy restaurant which can boost your dining experience in more ways than one.
- Adjust your hearing aids. If you are wearing hearing aids, make sure to adjust them for the environment. Opt to sit with your back to the noisiest part of the room. Your directional microphones are designed to pick up noise in front of you, so your hearing aids won’t amplify the noise coming from behind you.
Consult with the Experts at Smithtown / Sayville Hearing Services
If you want to learn more about hearing loss evaluations and treatments, just let us know. Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment. We’d love to see you and answer any questions you have for us. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are dedicated to your hearing health and helping you to live with hearing loss! We have two convenient hearing center locations on Long Island: one in Sayville,NY and the second in Smithtown,NY.