Last week, 12-19 September, was National Lipreading Awareness Week in the UK. More than 10 million Brits suffer from hearing loss and while some are helped by hearing devices, a number of people still have to rely on lipreading.
ATLA – the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults – are now asking restaurants to choose a day to invite their customers to ‘come and enjoy their taste in food, not their taste in music’.
In return ATLA will give participating restaurants some basic deaf awareness training for their staff, a poster to display of their local lipreading class and a press release template to send to the local media.
“Many hard of hearing people avoid going to restaurants because it’s just too difficult for them to follow conversations and pick out the sounds they want to hear,” says ATLA’s vice-chair Molly Berry. “But minimum investment can fix this and make a restaurant a much more pleasant environment for everyone to hear each other and hold conversations in, not just the hard of hearing.”
Other than turning down the music, here are some easy tips for restaurants to cut down the background noise:
- Introduce more soft furnishings such as curtains, cushions and carpet
- Acoustic ceiling tiles which dampen the sound
- Ensure good lighting so lipreaders can see the face of the person speaking
If you are a Baha 5 user, you can prepare for the evening by bringing your Wireless Mini Microphone. Pin it on your companion’s collar or put it on the table to pick up the conversation all around. Choose between two different versions.
What do YOU think about dining out? Are restaurants today too noisy?