Tips for Hearing Aid Users at Dinner Parties

This blog post has been reviewed and approved by a hearing healthcare professional.

If you have hearing aids, you know you cannot go without them when you are at a dinner party. You may think that hearing aids would make things louder with so much noise at a party or family dinner, but modern hearing aids are not simple sound amplifiers. If they were, it would amplify all sounds around you, making it difficult to focus on the conversation you want to hear. Modern hearing aids process sound to suppress background noise and help you focus on the conversation close to you.
Tip #1: Face The Person You Are Listening To

Make sure you face the person you are talking to. This is helpful because you can watch for extra clues, such as gestures and lip-reading. The volume of the speaker’s voice will also be louder when they are looking directly at you. 

 

Most hearing aids have directional microphones. This means that the hearing aids automatically focus on the speaker directly in front of you. This helps improve speech understanding, so the conversation sounds more clear. That’s why hearing aid wearers will struggle to hear someone if they are not facing the speaker. 


It is also helpful to keep the sources of any other noise behind you, such as other conversations you aren’t a part of, a television, music speaker, and so on. The directional microphones will adapt to pick up sound in front of you and dampen the noise from behind you.

Tip #2: Use Good Lighting
Make sure the room has good lighting so that you can clearly see your friends’ and families’ faces. This will allow you to read lips if you find that helps you better understand what is being said.
Tip #3: Remove Decorations and Clutter
Remove decorations and clutter that is on the table to make sure that you can see everyone who is sitting at the table. This is another way that improving clear visuals around you can better improve your ability to follow conversations.
Tip #4: Speak Clearly
It never hurts to ask people to speak more clearly, and to face you if they are speaking to you directly. However, sometimes people misunderstand what actually helps someone with hearing loss. For example, they may think they have to just talk louder, maybe even shout at you. But shouting distorts the quality of the voice and makes it harder to understand. Just ask them to speak clearly, and directly at you.
Tip #5: Reduce Background Noise
Reduce background noise as much as possible, to prevent other sound from drowning out the conversation. Common background noise at dinner parties can include a radio or TV, or being at a very busy and loud restaurant. If possible, you can request that your dinner party keeps any background music or TV at a lower volume, or even turned off completely. You can also arrange for more quiet, private seating at restaurants.
Tip #6: Inform People About Your Hearing Loss
If you are meeting someone who does not know about your hearing loss, it’s never a bad thing to let them know. You can be assertive and proactive. Inform people that you have a hearing loss and tell them how they can help you. Ask them to turn down music, face you when speaking to you, and so on. Most people would be happy to oblige.
How Modern Hearing Aids Can Help

If you are new to hearing loss or have an older hearing aid, it’s a good idea to find out how the latest hearing aid technology can help. The newest hearing aids have new features and settings that are specifically designed to help you have a better hearing experience in social settings, such as dinner clubs. They include things like:


  • Directional microphones

  • Background noise suppression

  • Special settings for restaurants and conversations

  • Machine learning that will automatically adjust your settings


You can book a free hearing test and consultation with a hearing healthcare professional at any time to learn more. It’s always good to get your hearing reassessed every year, in case there has been a change in your hearing. They can fine tune your current hearing aids to your current level of hearing so you hear better in social settings. They can also tell you about newer hearing aid models that may be able to help you more.

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