The ability to hear is a precious gift. We often never think twice about being able to listen to the sounds of nature, our spouse’s voice, or the laughter of children. Sadly, it usually takes a hearing loss for us to think about this gift of hearing. This loss of hearing is a sad reality for an estimated 36 million Americans who report some degree of hearing loss and are no longer able to hear those sweet sounds we take for granted. However, you can still enjoy favorite activities with a hearing impairment. Eating at a restaurant, going to see a movie, or spending a day at a favorite museum are all possible with a hearing loss.
Excited about the latest blockbuster? Don’t let a hearing loss stop you from enjoying the movies. Theaters now offer a variety of options to assist patrons in enjoying the show. Handheld captioning devices and assistive listening devices are usually available. Some venues even offer captioned viewings.
Eating At A Restaurant
A hearing loss need not keep you from eating out at your favorite restaurant. Here are a few tips for dining out:
- When reserving a table, request a quiet one if possible. Acting in advance will give the restaurant sufficient time to meet your request.
- Opt for a corner table or a spot beside a wall. This type of seating arrangement will place a barrier between you and the noisy restaurant. A seating arrangement of this type eliminates distractions from behind and beside of you and allows you to focus upon the speaker.
- Consider a restaurant with sound absorbing décor. Carpet, curtains, cushioned chairs, and cloth tablecloths help to absorb environmental noise. Try to avoid eating places that feature glass, wood, and hard surfaces in their décor.
- As you read online reviews of restaurants, pay attention to the noise level in the criteria and try to find spots that are good for conversation.
- Ask family and friends for suggestions on quiet eating places.
A Night Out
You can have a fun night out doing exciting activities. Here are a few tips:
- Museums. A local museum is an excellent choice for knowledge, history, or art. Museums tend to be quiet places and often supply assistive listening devices for their guests. Some museums even provide printed materials for guests.
- Live theater. Live theater does a fantastic job of making performances enjoyable for all audiences including those with hearing loss. Theaters that seat more than 50 guests are required to provide some hearing assistance such as handheld captioning devices, infrared hearing systems, or stage-mounted caption displays. Contact the venue in advance to find out what your theater has to offer.
- Concerts. If you are planning to attend a live show, bring a set of earplugs to protect your hearing as you enjoy the music. If it is a symphony you are going to hear, assistive listening devices are usually available.
If you experience hearing loss, there is no reason to let it put you on the sidelines. Technological advances and planning in advance can help you have a wonderful night out. So get out there and enjoy!