Noise Levels in Restaurants Can Cause Difficulty in Hearing

Dec 15, 2009 by

One of the most common hearing problems we hear about is the difficulty of hearing in noisy restaurants. It seems that along with movies, television shows, and the world in general, restaurants have become noisier than ever. Loud background music, the clatter of silverware and dishes, the sounds of other diners raising their voices to be heard, all can make the restaurant setting a challenging and frustrating place to carry on a conversation. People with normal hearing also complain about noisy restaurants.

According to Zagat Surveys, noise is the second most common complaint of restaurant-goers (second only to poor service). Research has documented that the noise levels of most restaurants are loud enough to interfere with normal conversations, whether or not the individual has a hearing loss. In general, family restaurants are much quieter than the bar/restaurant setting. The “elegant, upscale” restaurant will always be the quietest setting by far. Apparently, patrons of more expensive restaurants receive not only better food and service for their dining dollar, they also get a better listening environment.

 Tips for hearing aid users in restaurants may include the following: (1) Try to sit away from the kitchen and with your back to a wall. Noise levels will be kept to a minimum and your waiter or waitress will have to face you when speaking, and (2) Try not to be a people watcher and sit towards the corner of a restaurant. You will be surprised how much better you will be hearing by preferentially situating yourself in any restaurant environment. 

Remember, we live in a very noisy place and even individuals with normal hearing have difficulty hearing in noisy restaurants. Utilizing effective communication strategies will help to reduce your frustration in these listening environments.