Many people find that the most difficult place to have a conversation is in a restaurant. There is music playing, dishes clanking, dozens of people speaking (or yelling to be heard over the noise), and the people they are with just do not seem to speak loud enough to be heard through all of the commotion.
This can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing for those with a hearing loss, but do not give up hope. There are a few simple tips to help out everyone in this situation, from those with normal hearing to those with hearing loss.
- Do not sit in the middle of the restaurant. This can be one of the loudest places to sit, with no walls or barriers close by to help block some of that background noise. Try to sit near the wall, so instead of having noise all around, you can have at least one side be quieter.
- Do not sit next to the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the loudest places in a restaurant. It has a lot of foot traffic from the wait staff coming and going, as well as the clinking of dishes and the sounds of the cooks cooking. Ask your waiter or waitress to seat you in another area if possible.
- If you sit at the bar, try to sit at the end. Bars are also very noisy places, and add the additional issue of not facing the person you are trying to speak to. This can become very problematic when holding a conversation. If you do find yourself at a restaurant bar, try to sit on the end, so there is a little less noise, and try to turn your chair so that you can face the person you are speaking to.
- Sit across from the person you’re listening to. Sitting across from the person you are listening to is very important in situations with high levels of background noise. If you are in a group, and you know one person in particular is the most difficult to hear, sit across from this person. Facial and body cues can be a great benefit in understanding what is being said, and can help fill in the gaps that might be missed due to the noise.
- Sit in a booth if possible. This adds another noise block so that the noise from behind you is somewhat blocked, as well as the wall. This can reduce the background noise that you have to deal with.