Entering the holiday season often means frequent celebrations and eating out, regardless of the time of year.
Nearly 25% of people aged 65 to 74 and 50% aged 75 or older experience disabling hearing loss, and nearly 28.8 million Americans could benefit from the use of hearing aids. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to best navigate dining out while using hearing aids, you’re likely not alone.
Luckily, there are tools and tactics to navigate eating out at restaurants like Edgar’s Grille with hearing aids to ensure you have the best experience, regardless of the time of year.
Things To Consider
Think through the following when planning restaurant trips:
1. Come prepared and wear your hearing aids. Hearing aids may pick up some of the noisy background noise of a restaurant but will also allow you to hear those speaking to you, such as family and the waiter. Ensure your hearing aids are recharged or that the batteries are okay. Many hearing aids with disposable batteries will alert you if the battery is low.
2. Choose the restaurant based on ambiance. Some restaurants project noise louder than others. A restaurant with carpet and cushioned seating will likely be quieter than a sports bar with stools and TVs. These factors all contribute to how well you’ll hear your companions through background noise.
3. Sit facing the primary speaker, and don’t just pretend to hear what they’re saying. The ability to see who is speaking can give you context clues to fill in anything you may have missed. It’s also easy to pretend you heard what someone said, even if you missed it. It’s okay to ask whoever is speaking to clarify or repeat themselves. You deserve to hear what’s being said.
4. Schedule your meal during a non-rush time. If the restaurant is less busy, there will be less background noise to distract you from hearing whoever is speaking to you.
5. Consider an assistive listening device. In a large group with multiple speakers in a busy restaurant, hearing aids may not be enough. An assistive listening device has a receiver that can amplify sound to a loop worn around the listener’s neck. The microphone can be placed in the center of the table or used by whoever is speaking. A hearing specialist can help you determine if this works with your hearing aids or is right for you.
Navigating eating out with hearing aids can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that whoever you’re dining with likely wants to be heard as much as you want to hear. It’s okay to advocate for yourself and to prepare so you can enjoy the dining experience as much as everyone else.
If you have questions about navigating hearing loss, contact Augusta - Aiken ENT & Allergy to schedule an appointment.