It’s been nearly two months since restrictions eased, which means many British Columbians have finally been able to reconnect in person. Conversation flows easily when there’s so much catching-up to do — unless you’re in a noisy restaurant. As the days get shorter and we bring these gatherings indoors, hearing can become an even bigger concern.
“My clients are starting to venture out to restaurants and family dinners, and they want to know if there are things they can do to improve their hearing in those situations,” says Kim Galick, owner of Ears Hearing Clinic in Langley. “Whether you use hearing aids or not, there are definitely strategies to improve your ability to hear in crowded rooms.”
- Choose your restaurant carefully. Exposed brick and high ceilings may look trendy, but tablecloths and carpets are much better materials for managing sound. “Make note of restaurants with loud music or exposed kitchen areas, and support venues where it’s easier to hold a conversation,” Galick says. Browse apps like SoundPrint, where users can record decibel readings for venues, and request a quiet table when you reserve — not all tables are the same, and booths are usually best! Don’t forget to consider lighting, since non-verbal cues can make for better conversation.
- Make your voice heard. If you find music too loud others probably do too, so ask your server if they can turn it down. Even if you aren’t successful, the manager may take note of the complaint. If you’re in someone’s home, let the host know you’re having trouble following the conversation.
- Step aside. In a private home, pull someone aside for a one-on-one conversation in a quiet corner. In a restaurant, choose a table along the perimeter of the room. It’s quieter, and you can also shift your body so your ears —and your hearing aids — are pointing towards the sounds you want to hear. “The directional systems in most hearing aids amplify sounds in front of you, so they work best when you have your back to unwanted noise. Even better if your companion has their back to a wall,” Galick says.
Book a free appointment with Ears Hearing to test your hearing and discuss your options! Call 604-427-2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find Ears Hearing at Unit C 20568 56 Ave. in Langley, online at earslangley.com and on Facebook.