One of the most difficult listening environments often mentioned by our patients at appointments is listening to conversations at a restaurant. Restaurants are filled with noise from the music and the clatter of plates to the hum of the many conversations taking place at the surrounding tables. All of these noises compete with each other which can make following the conversation at your table very difficult. Here are some tips to help you hear better and enjoy a night out!

  • Do your research. If you can choose the restaurant, conduct some research prior to selecting. Call the restaurant host and ask about their use of music, ask about where the quieter tables are located and if it is possible to reserve in advance. Also, online reviews are sometimes a great source for finding out if a new spot is too loud.
  • Be upfront. It is always best to let both your dining companions and the restaurant know that you have hearing loss and what actions you may take to hear better at dinner. Also tell your dining companions what actions they can take to help
  • Choose your seat. Where a table is located in the restaurant can make a big difference to how well you hear. Stay away from tables in the middle. If possible find a nice corner table or one along the wall and sit on the side of the wall. This at least prevents noise from coming at you in all directions.

Finally, turn on the technology. Many of today’s hearing aids have accessories or smart phone apps that help funnel and direct the conversation around your table right to your hearing aids. Some new smart hearing aids can even automatically adjust to a designated restaurant setting to help you hear clearer and better. Talk to your audiologist about what advanced settings and accessories are available with your hearing aids, because good food almost always means good conversation – and you don’t want to miss out!