One of the hardest environments to be able to maintain a conversation is a noisy restaurant or cafe. It doesn’t matter if it’s untreated hearing loss, an auditory processing deficit, an older hearing aids, or with completely normal hearing – hearing with other noise around is difficult.
But there are some simple strategies you can use with and without hearing aids to aid your communication in these environments.
If you do not have any hearing aids or you have older, more primitive hearing aids then positioning in noisy restaurants is crucial. Many people sit in the middle of the noise and are unable to hold a conversation due to the competing noises all around them. If you sit in a corner or with your back to a wall then there is no competing noise being made behind you. It is all in front of you and you can focus on the people talking at your table rather than other restaurant noise, which is now further away.
If you have a more recent hearing aid with a directional microphone and it is able to reduce noises behind you then you would do the opposite. By facing the wall you are minimizing the unwanted noise source in front of you and your hearing aids will reduce the level of noise behind you allowing an increased ease of conversation in these environments.
Good lighting is also very important. We all rely on an element of lip reading to help us out when unwanted background noises are actually louder than the people we want to hear. Having good lighting on people’s faces aids this strategy.
When someone talks to you from the side don’t push one ear towards them to try in an attempt to hear them better. Turn your head to look at them to supplement your hearing with the visual lip-reading cues and to maximize their voices to both ears. Two ears are always better than one. This is particularly important for those with directional hearing aids as the hearing aids are only focusing on the sounds in front of you, not the side.
Lastly get someone’s attention before you start talking to them so they are looking at you from the start of the conversation and you can use the visual cues. If they or you are looking elsewhere at the beginning of the conversation there is a pretty good chance that by the time you do see their face the context portion of the conversation will have passed and you will be unable to guess what the conversation is about.
If you think you might have some central auditory processing problems, or if you’d like to discuss more modern and technologically advanced hearing aids, book in now for a free no obligation consultation.
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