When you are dining out, attempts to be an active part of a conversation can be daunting despite how well you can hear. Needless to say, for those of you who do have a problem, it may be even harder. The loud noise can even be intentional at times for besides giving a lively feel to the restaurant, it also ensures that people move out of the tables faster. The minimalist restaurant design approach, the often encountered high ceiling, and concrete surface only exacerbate this issue.
In spite of all this, a restaurant can still be a place where you can have an enjoyable time with your family and friends or an important business meeting with your clients or colleagues. If the fear of missing out (despite being present) doesn’t let you say yes to such events, read on to know some tried and tested ways to make restaurant meetings a clear and relaxed experience.
Select The Right Restaurant
When your partner or group selects the restaurant, looks for the ones that are conducive to having a normal conversation. This can be determined in various ways, the simplest being to call and ask! Call the shortlisted restaurant and ask if they have any area with a quieter ambiance that is suitable for a business meeting. Even if it is a leisure outing, this is a valid question as the restaurant staff knows that business meetings require an adequately quiet environment, the reason why one rarely encounters loud music during their lunch hours. One more way to know this is by visiting websites, like opentable.com or yelp.com, that have reviews of the restaurant. Look for those reviews that specifically talk about the music type or general ambiance of the place.
Ditch The Peak Hours
Timing your visit to the restaurant wisely is a smart way to escape the noise. Peak hours are from 12 noon to 1:30 pm in the afternoon and around 6-7 pm in the evening. They are characterized by lively (read loud) music that may play spoilsport for your conversations. At times, these timings can vary on account of special events and public holidays. So, if you are in doubt, just pick up your phone and call the restaurant to confirm their slow hours.
Another tip to enhance your eating out experience is by calling ahead and making some simple requests. Explain it to them how you wouldn’t want to sit near the kitchen or the bar and the need for a quiet table. If they have a provision for seating in isolated booths, request for one. Such cubicles or booths are known to create ‘pockets’ that filter out the extra noise due to the presence of taller backs and soft cushions. If such booths are not present, go for the ‘perimeter tables’ (the ones that are present along the edges of the restaurant. As loud noise accumulates in the center of a room as it reverberates, sitting at such a position subjects you to the fainter frequencies of that noise. Often, we do not want to impose and may miss out on so much by not being able to hear well. However, such requests are extremely common and any good restaurant will be happy to accommodate your requests. So, next time, just ask!
Watch Where You Sit
It is best for you to be seated with your back towards the source of noise (like the kitchen or the bar.) As most hearing aids have a background noise cancellation technology, they are engineered to focus on the sounds that you have your face towards. Choosing a seat accordingly will only enhance your experience with your hearing aid. Also, if you’re there for a meeting, you can request the main speaker to be seated right in front of you. Moreover, if your perimeter table (assuming you got one) faces a wall, having the others sit with their backs facing the wall enables amplification of their voices as it reaches you.
Make Use of Technology
With the advent of new technology, newer tools like the assistive listening device are gaining popularity. they are specifically devised to overcome the challenges that one faces in hearing properly in a noisy environment. The ALDs comprise an FM microphone and a receiver. The tiny microphone is placed in the middle of the table while the receiver has to be worn by you. The latter can be looped cords that you put around your neck or they can also transmit straight to your hearing aid. Contact your audiologist’s office for more information about these little wonders.