Coping with challenges of a noisy restaurant

Coping with noisy restaurants with hearing lossIn honor of Restaurant Week in New York and other U.S. cities, we’d like to call your attention to a common consumer complaint: Some restaurants are way too loud. It’s a sentiment that people of all ages and all hearing abilities have expressed, and for good reason. Earsplitting background noise makes communication difficult and can be damaging to hearing.

For people with hearing loss, the experience of dining in a noisy restaurant is especially frustrating because the communication challenges can seem insurmountable. Hearing aids with sophisticated features that reduce background noise are beneficial, but only to a point. Diners who are deaf or hard of hearing often struggle to such a degree that they find themselves avoiding restaurants altogether.

CHC’s Dining Out Toolkit

At CHC, it’s our mission to keep people connected to life. So we’re pleased to report that there are coping strategies you can use and technology you can access – including two exciting new apps – to help enhance communication at your favorite eatery.

CHC’s Dining Out Toolkit takes a comprehensive approach – making use of the latest hearing technology, simple communication strategies and amazing apps that can guide you to quieter restaurants.

  1. Use Hearing Technology – Your first line of defense is your hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are equipped with noise reduction circuitry and directional microphones which are helpful, but only to a point. Most likely you’ll still face some challenges. That’s why CHC audiologist Dr. Ellen Lafargue recommends you use assistive devices to further minimize the din and bring you closer to the source of sound.  Read more.
  2. Apply Simple Communication Tips – Your ability to hear and communicate in a restaurant is also dependent on environmental factors and the manner in which you communicate with staff. In her latest Sound Advice blog post, Ruth Bernstein shares communication strategies designed to lessen the stress and dial up the enjoyment.  Read more.
  3. iHEARu app identifies quiet restaurantsChoose Quieter Restaurants – We’re excited about two new apps that can help you find a quiet restaurant or bar where you can hear and communicate better. SoundPrint and iHEARu use crowdsourcing technology to generate data by empowering consumers to act as citizen scientists. We reached out to the founders of each to understand more fully how the apps work and the difference they can make in the lives of people with hearing loss.

Read Q&A with SoundPrint founder Greg Scott »

Read Q&A with iHEARu founder Kelly Tremblay »

SounPrint identifies quiet restaurantsWe hope this special Dining Out Toolkit inspires you to make a reservation at your favorite cafe or eatery! Be sure to download the free apps – SoundPrint and iHEARu – and let us know what you think of them, as well as the other information provided here.

Bon appetit!

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