Tips to Help You Hear Better in a Restaurant

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
Tips to Help You Hear Better in a Restaurant

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing a restaurant with a quieter atmosphere or visiting during off-peak hours can significantly improve your listening experience.
  • Choose a booth or a corner table to minimize background noise.
  • Use modern technology, including hearing aids with directional microphones and smartphone apps.

Tips to Hear Better in a Restaurant

Dining out should be an enjoyable experience, but for those with hearing difficulties, restaurants are a challenging environment. The combination of background music, clattering dishes, and overlapping conversations can make it hard to hear and participate in discussions at your table. However, there are strategies you can employ to enhance your hearing capabilities in these situations. Here are a few tips to help you hear better in a restaurant:

  • Choose Your Restaurant Wisely - Opt for restaurants known for their quieter ambiance. Some places are designed with sound-absorbing materials that minimize background noise.
  • Visit During Off-Peak Hours - Dine during less busy times when there are fewer people and less noise.
  • Request a Booth or Corner Table - These locations typically have less traffic and can shield you from some of the restaurant’s noise.
  • Avoid Tables Near the Kitchen or Bar - These areas are usually noisier due to the clanging of dishes and the buzz of activity.
  • Sit With Your Back to the Wall - This can reduce the amount of background noise you have to contend with.
  • Use Hearing Aids Effectively - Ensure your hearing aids are properly adjusted for noisy environments.
  • Use a Directional Microphone - If your hearing aid has this feature, make sure it's activated to help you focus on the conversation at your table.
  • Utilize Smartphone Apps - Some apps are designed to enhance hearing by filtering background noise and amplifying speech.
  • Inform Your Waiter and Companions - Letting them know about your hearing difficulties can encourage them to speak more clearly and face you directly.
  • Limit Table Size - Smaller groups make for easier conversation with less background noise interference.
  • Ask for Written Specials - If you struggle to hear the waiter when they're detailing the specials, asking for them in writing can be helpful.
  • Advocate for Your Needs - Don't hesitate to ask for what will make your dining experience better, whether that's turning down the music or moving to a quieter table.
  • Opt for Round Tables - Round tables facilitate easier eye contact with all diners at the table, enhancing lip reading and the overall flow of conversation.
  • Regular Hearing Aid Maintenance - Ensure your hearing aids are in optimal condition before going to a restaurant. Clean them regularly and check the batteries to avoid any malfunctions when you need them the most.
  • Take Breaks if Needed - If the noise becomes overwhelming, stepping outside for a few minutes to give your ears some rest can help. It's also an excellent opportunity to have one-on-one conversations.


NANO Hearing Aids are FDA-registered, Class I devices. Our OTC hearing aids are designed for individuals over 18 years of age with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment. With prices starting at just $297, they offer a viable solution for those looking to improve their hearing without breaking the bank.

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nano audacity

Nano Audacity RIC OTC hearing aids

How Nano OTC Hearing Aid Helps You Hear Better in Restaurants

For those who experience hearing difficulties, a noisy restaurant can be a daunting environment. Our FDA-registered OTC hearing aids were created for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, and come with various features that can help you in noisy environments.

Directional Microphones

These microphones are engineered to focus on the sound coming from in front of you—usually the person you're trying to listen to—while reducing noise from other directions. This means that even in a busy restaurant, you can tune into your conversation more easily. Some Nano OTC behind-the-ear hearing aids utilize this technology to filter out unwanted background noise, such as chatter and clinking dishes.

Noise Reduction Capabilities

Noise reduction technology in hearing aids works to identify and lessen certain types of sound. Nano OTC hearing aids are equipped with advanced algorithms that can differentiate between speech and noise, turning down the latter while keeping the former clear. This doesn't mean the background noise will disappear completely, but it will be less intrusive, making it easier for you to follow conversations.

Discreet Design for Social Comfort

Nano OTC hearing aids are designed to be as inconspicuous as possible, allowing you to wear them without drawing attention. For example, our new completely-in-canal model, First Ear Pro CIC, is nearly invisible and works for up to 26 hours before you need to recharge it. The device comes with a set of ear tips of different sizes for precise fitting.

First Ear Pro CIC

Nano First Ear Pro CIC OTC Hearing Aid

Bluetooth Connectivity and Smartphone Integration

Our Audacity RIC BTE hearing aid comes with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to pair it with your smartphone. This integration opens up a range of possibilities, such as adjusting settings through an app and streaming audio directly to your hearing aid. And there's more; some restaurants offer apps that can connect to your hearing aid, providing you with real-time menus and specials directly in your ear—no need to struggle to hear the waiter over the din of the crowd.

Going out to eat should be a pleasurable experience, not a source of stress. With the right approach and a little help from technology like the Nano OTC hearing aids, you can transform a noisy restaurant into a setting where you can savor both the food and the conversation. So next time you're planning a night out, remember these tips and make every meal experience count.

If you’d like to learn more about our OTC hearing aids, contact our call center at (888) 310-6266!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best seating arrangements for someone with hearing difficulties?

Choosing a seat with your back to a wall can help reduce background noise. Opt for a booth if available, as the high backs can provide a buffer from ambient sounds. Sitting at a smaller table can also help, as managing conversations from fewer sources can be easier on the ears.

Furthermore, if the restaurant has round tables, they can be a good choice because they allow you to see everyone's faces, making it easier to follow along with lip reading and visual cues.

How can I ask the restaurant staff for accommodations without drawing attention?

It's all about how you communicate your needs. A simple, "Could we please have a table in a quieter area? I have some hearing challenges and would appreciate it," is both polite and direct. There's no need to feel embarrassed about your requirements; after all, you're there to enjoy the experience just like everyone else.

Can a Nano OTC hearing aid be customized for different noise environments?

No, but every Nano hearing aid has a 'noise' or 'restaurant' pre-programmed setting.  This setting is designed to optimize your listening in noisy situations.

Are there specific restaurant types that are better for hearing-impaired individuals?

Restaurants with soft furnishings, such as carpets and curtains, tend to be better for those with hearing impairments because they absorb sound. Places that have separate dining areas or alcoves can also be quieter. Fast-food restaurants and those with open kitchens or live music tend to be noisier and may pose more of a challenge.

How do I handle situations where I miss part of a conversation due to background noise?

First, don't hesitate to ask someone to repeat themselves—it's a common and acceptable request. If you continue to struggle, summarize what you did hear and ask for clarification on the parts you missed. This approach shows that you're engaged in the conversation and helps to fill in the gaps without having the entire thing repeated. And remember, it's okay to let your dining companions know that you're having difficulty hearing; they can help by speaking up or rephrasing as needed. Lastly, consider the tips and technology mentioned earlier in this article. 

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