Tips for Better Hearing in Noise

Tips for Better Hearing in Noise
Kristin Johnston

Many with hearing loss know the situation well. Equipped with your hearing aids, you make plans to attend a dinner with your family and friends. The group is large enough that the crowded restaurant accommodates you at a big table. Yet, as soon as you enter the room, you can predict that problems will arise.

At the outset of the meal, you realize that people are sitting too far away to be able to hear them clearly. Moreover, the din of voices in the restaurant is so loud that you struggle to tell the voice of the person sitting beside you from the other voices in the room. Your hearing aids do help raise the overall volume in the room, but they are not always equipped to help you distinguish the sound of one voice from another. When the waiter comes to take your order, you fumble to understand questions and respond appropriately, detracting from the enjoyment of the event overall.

Although this experience is all too common for those with hearing loss, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way! Let’s consider just a few simple steps you can take to make a dinner with loved ones enjoyable and easier on yourself, restoring the fun of going out to a restaurant.

Plan Ahead

A little thinking in advance of your dinner can do a lot to make it easier to hear in a noisy room. You might want to mention hearing loss when you make a reservation, because many restaurants are familiar with the struggle to hear amid a busy crowd. Simply asking if they have a table that is in a quieter part of the room can do a lot to assist the process.

You may even want to take the sound environment into your choice of restaurant. Those with carpeting can help dull the sound of voices, and covered walls can do a lot for the acoustics of the room, as well. Take these features of the space into consideration before planning the dinner if at all possible. You may want to take a look at the menu prior to going to the restaurant, as well. Familiarize yourself with the options available in order to minimize questions about your order. If you know exactly what you want to eat before sitting down, you can avoid the tricky back-and-forth with a waiter that is the cause of frustration.

Seeking Support

While you are at the restaurant, don’t be afraid to seek support from your loved ones. One simple thing your support network can do is make it easier on you to have a conversation. Looking directly at you can be helpful, as can sitting as close as is comfortable. When it comes time to give your order to the waiter, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help translating. Perhaps the server listed off specials for the day. Your hearing loss shouldn’t be a reason to miss out!

Simply ask those nearby to repeat the options before you make your decision. Sometimes they can supply a printed list to assist you, as well. Above all, don’t let hearing limitations get you down. A dinner with friends or loved ones is a cause to celebrate. You can trust those with you to assist when they can and to give you the support you need when they are able. Most will be more than happy to fill in the gaps in your hearing by repeating or rephrasing things that are lost.

Treatment for Speech Recognition

Another possibility is to seek out new options for hearing aids that will do a better job differentiating between the surrounding sound of a room and the voices you want to hear. Although older hearing aid models are less equipped to distinguish one voice from another, the latest features make it possible to do so in incredible new ways.

Ask your hearing health professional about hearing aids that offer this function. Although some rooms will continue to make it difficult to hear, that is true for all people, including those who do not have hearing loss. The latest hearing aids can work wonders for a noisy room!