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.
- 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.
- Make reservations ahead of time and ask for accommodations.
- Choose to dine with a smaller number of dining partners.
- If possible, pick a table in the least noisy part of the restaurant. Stay away from the kitchen, bar, and wait for service stations.
- As for seating in a well-lit area.
- Sit with your back to the window, so that the lighting is on the speaker’s face, not in your eyes.
- Ask the staff if it’s possible to turn down the background music.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t bluff! If you don’t understand, have people repeat.
- And lastly, relax, breathe and enjoy the food and company, even if you don’t catch every word.
Photo by Dex Ezekiel on Unsplash