Group of 4 - Noisy Restaurant

My son invited us to dinner at a restaurant . The place was LOUD, so loud that my app did not help (KS10’s) and I had trouble hearing my wife with the partner app. It is also very difficult to understand the people at my table. Did not want to make a scene. How do you cope in situations like this?

Hope do you deal with understanding conversations when there are a few people siting around talking?


I have learned to speak up about not going to certain restaurants. But that takes previous experience with the restaurants. I have been known to just mute my aids and say I can’t hear in here so don’t bother talking to me.


Similar to what cvkemp said. If I know the restaurant is a noisy one, I don’t go. If not been before, I say I can’t hear in here, so let me know when you are ready to leave.


It may help if you can sit at a table situated so you face a wall and most of the noise comes from behind you.


I have also learned to be vocal about restaurant choices and where I sit. I will look for where the music speakers are mounted and avoid them, I even asked for music to be turned down. I find if I explain why and don’t make it a big deal, most are quite willing to support my requests. It’s supposed to be a pleasant experience, and one should not have to feel left out if one can do some planning in advance.


For me the Roger Select helps a lot, not perfect but much better. However, in very noisy restaurants almost everyone has a hard time hearing. Not just us.


For years before my aids, I had just learned to deal with it I guess. I knew I had loss but had no idea how much. My wife would often “drag” me to meet her large group of friends at all sorts of noisy places. I knew I had a hearing loss but had no idea how bad it was. I’d get bits and pieces of the conversations, learned to lip read a lot more than I even knew that I was doing. Basically got the gist of some of the conversations… but not all. I sometimes asked for folks to repeat themselves but mostly I just let things slide. Not all that important to me.
Since my aids this has happened much less but it still does…& I just revert back to letting it go. Just had an even a couple weeks ago like this.
I don’t generally get passive aggressive about it…but I’m not shy about asking for repeats or when It’s clear someone is saying something to me I don’t mind telling I’m having a hard time hearing. If it’s important, they will do what’s needed to loop me in. Often when I don’t get it all I’ll just lean in and quietly ask my wife what that other person just said… she understands now and helps a bit to interpret when it’s warranted…
Anyway, it is a bit of an art…one that I’ve become less skilled at since wearing aids…lip reading, piecing together the bits and pieces with intuition and context. Even occasionally laughing when there’s a joke even though I didn’t hear all of it (only to just not spoil the mood)…& just having patience being bored while my wife is enjoying her social time…


I had a single hearing aid when I started. I couldn’t afford two…

It was an in the ear hearing aid. That’s what the fitter said I needed. I couldn’t hear someone sitting 3 feet in front of me in a restaurant or the cafeteria at work. I could hear all the conversations behind me.

Meetings were worse.

I qualified for a set of hearing aids because of hearing loss due to noise at work. It’s not all rosy. My first audiologist was amazing; she sold her business. My latest audiologits is amazing too. I’m doing better but still need help setting up my hearing aids.

Point i’m making is that with my hearing aids getting the best style for me is really important. Just as important is the quality of work done setting them up So the choice of audiologists is critical.


I have KS-9 HAs and Yes - Noisy restaurants can be a huge problem. I have started using the Live Transcribe application on my Android cellphone that helps me follow conversations. This app uses the phone’s mic to transcribe what is being said into printed “speech” on my phone’s screen. It is a free app on Android. Many people talking at the same time can still be a problem but it has been a huge help for me to follow a conversation so I can answer when asked with a coherent answer. Nothing can replace normal, good hearing but Live Transcribe has been a tremendous help for me. I recently say a news item that Apple was planning on releasing their own version of Live Transcribe for their phones by the end of 2022.


Restaurants are really the worse case scenario for hearing aids. There are many brands/models that can handle every other type listening scenario quite well but they fail when you sit down to eat in a restaurants or bar setting. Funny enough, its not the noise that is the main issue. Most high end hearing aids do a good job dealing with noise. What I have noticed is that hearing aids really struggle when you are in a noisy restaurants with many simultaneous conversations happening at adjacent tables that are in close proximity to the people at your table. Think of a small restaurant with many small tables crammed together. You are trying to talk to the person across from you (who may have a quiet voice) but there is an equally loud conversation happening at the tables beside and behind you. In fact, the people speaking at the other tables may only be a few feet further away than the people at your own table and the hearing aids seems to get confused about which conversation is the focus of your attention. You know this is happening because you will often find yourself in a situation where you cannot hear the people at your own table but you can clearly hear someone talking at the table beside you.

Here are some tips that I have discovered to make things a bit better:

  • Always go with the highest level of hearing aid. The best tech to deal with restaurants is often only included in the top model.
  • Try to get a table beside the wall and make sure you take a seat with your back to the wall. This will eliminate noise from behind.
  • Second option is to face the wall but to make this work, you have to have high end hearing aids that allow you to change the microphone focus to completely forward.
  • Work with your audiologist to create an effective Restaurant program and turn it on. Restaurant programs usually focus the microphones fully forward, sets noise reduction to max and bumps up the speech frequencies. Be patient as it often takes multiple weeks and visits to get this set up well.
  • My hearing aids (Resound Quattro’s) let me create my own programs and save them in the app. Best advice is to play around with different settings when you are in a restaurant and make a note of what changes improves your ability to understand people at the table. When you go back to the audiologist, show them what you have done/discovered. This will help the audiologist tweak your restaurant program to make improvements.

Hope this helps.



Jordan your advice is really helpful. I’m going to take my Phonaks and phone app to a noisy restaurant and see what I can learn.

I have Phonak Audeo Paradise P90R’s. I’m feel it’s taking a while too long to get them set up. In fairness, I haven’t talked to the audiologist in a while.

I had him setup a program I had saved. I started with the auto program. I selected the “clarity” function on the app. That seemed to help a lot. However, I tested using a noisy electric hand dryer at work. What I found was that the “auto” function no longer worked. Instead this step had saved a “calm” situation with low noise. And it stayed in that mode…so there is no “autofunction” with this program I had saved.

Ideally I wish that all the auto functions were still available, and the auto mode was enhanced with higher treble and middle frequencies, and controlled speech focus. I don’t know how to achieve this myself without the audiologist’s programming.


Hiya, im going to look at the quattro. I just found out that the newest BT is ASHA. Some android phones still use classic BT, phonak uses classic BT. If going to new phone with ASHA, then beltone and resound are alledgedly the best. I need only one, any bimodal folks in here have any current experience?

Thank you for sharing this. It fits me to a T. Good to know that it’s not just me.

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Have you used a transcribing app on your phone?
I’ve found NALscribe is fairly good and it’s free on iOS.
If your aids are MFI and you have an iOS phone you can also use live listen. It acts as a microphone and streams directly to your ears. Well it works with my HA & CI so I don’t see why it wouldn’t for be HA’s.

Other than those 2 simple things you can use, you need to learn to advocate for yourself. Try to choose a restaurant that you know has a quiet ambience. I explained to people that if everyone speaks at once I couldn’t understand word they are saying.
Good luck.


Generally, I try to avoid eating out if it’s indoors. It’s just too much work. And it’s not like I can carry my part of the conversation: By the time I’ve understood what’s being said the conversation has moved on. Only thing worse are children present: Even adults with good hearing stop their conversations with those bundles of noise.

Best are those events where you can walk around with drink and food, find a place and allow conversations to happen, where they can and get out where they can’t. People’ll will find you and I find that the number of strangers I have conversation with increases, too. :slight_smile: Apparently, there are a lot of people following such strategies.

I do find that upper tier restaurants – those where you go to experience new tastes – can be less noisy. I hardly have any problems with my Phonak M90’s in some of those. (Also no loud children, there.) Only problem is hearing the price.


Google Live Transcribe for Android

Agreed! In my experience, if I can’t hear others can’t either.

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Thanks for this info - much appreciated.

This was one of my tests when I was trialing my Oticon OPNs. My audiologist told me not to set my expectations too high, because even people with normal hearing have trouble hearing in noisy restaurants. Earlier this week, I went to a noisy restaurant/bar with a group of 13. I turned on my speech-in-noise and quickly determined I could only converse with three people at the table. The person directly across from me, and the people on either side of me. Luckily all three had loud booming voices and enunciated well. But it was still exhausting untangling all the voices around us from the voice I was trying to focus on. Then I noticed the guy on my right was wearing a hearing aid, so I asked him if he was hearing impaired and lifted my hair to show him my Oticon. We ended up tuning everyone else out for about 15 min to have a great conversation about the challenges of communicating in loud restaurants and other noisy work settings.


I have the same hearing aids as you do (1 year) and it was worthless! So, what we do is ask for reservation for quiet zone and patio (open table reserv is great!) I read lips real well so it is not too much of a problem. But, most of your input was good. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

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