Throughout the holiday seasons, many hearing-impaired people find it difficult to communicate whether at a party or around the table.   There are several strategies when trying to communicate in high noise environments.

  1. Plan ahead by picking a quieter restaurant.  Avoid places like sports bars, where there may be multiple televisions.  If they don’t use closed captions on the tv, the noise levels will probably be higher. 
  2. Make reservations ahead of time and ask for accommodations.
  3. Choose to dine with a smaller number of dining partners.
  4. If possible, pick a table in the least noisy part of the restaurant.  Stay away from the kitchen, bar, and wait for service stations.
  5. As for seating in a well-lit area.
  6. Sit with your back to the window, so that the lighting is on the speaker’s face, not in your eyes.
  7. Ask the staff if it’s possible to turn down the background music.
  8. Tell the waiter/waitress, as well as your dining companions, that you have a hearing loss and that it will help if they slow down a bit, speak a bit louder, and face you directly.
  9. Use directional microphones and/or an FM system.  If your hearing aids are set to directional, be sure to sit with your back to the main noise source.
  10. Don’t bluff!  If you don’t understand, have people repeat.
  11. And lastly, relax, breathe and enjoy the food and company, even if you don’t catch every word.

Photo by Dex Ezekiel on Unsplash

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