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Planning for Enjoyment at a Restaurant: Decision Trees for Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid Users

last modified on: Tue, 01/11/2022 - 17:27

See also: Articles on Music, Hearing Loss, and Hearing Devices 

Pages for CI users

Pages for HA users




As you read this website, keep in mind the following:

  • People with hearing loss can differ in many ways.  

  • ​Some information may be more similar to your situation. 

  • Pick and choose the information most useful for you.


Planning for Enjoyment at a Restaurant

Decision Trees for Cochlear Implant (CI) and Hearing Aid (HA) Users

Season for Dining Out54 Below Restaurant

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Enjoying complex listening environments can be difficult for people with hearing devices!

People who have healthy hearing often take for granted the enjoyment that comes from having a relaxing dinner with friends or family in a noisy restaurant. A survey conducted by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2017) showed that about 27 percent of adults have chosen not to go back to a place, like a restaurant, because they found it noisy. For CI or HA users, these issues may have an even greater impact on their enjoyment and ability to communicate. These life experiences can be anything but enjoyable and relaxing. Environments with lots of people and complex music tend to be very challenging for people who use hearing devices.  


This page includes a series of decision trees. A decision tree is a diagram that helps people to solve problems by showing decisions and various options to consider. Like a tree, these diagrams have many branches. The decision trees below describe challenges and possible solutions to help you enjoy a gathering at a restaurant. A person with a hearing loss cannot control everything in the environment, but they can sometimes plan ahead in order to improve their choices and control over the environment. 

These decision trees illustrate the process of making decisions to improve the listening situation for CI or HA users. While the exact options in the decision trees may not work for you, these examples also give you an idea of a thought process---how to break down a difficult situation into smaller, more solvable problems. You might think of other great options that work even better for your situation. Some strategies for problem-solving will work better than others based upon the listener's characteristics (i.e., personal goals and motivations) and situations (i.e., listening purposes and environment). 


Decision Trees for Going to a Restaurant


Before going to a restaurant

  • Click the pdf file to view the decision trees which aid in picking a restaurant and maximize your experiences when eating out at cafes or restaurants with family and friends: PDF icon Picking a restaurant.pdf


Arriving at the restaurant

  • Click the pdf file to view the decision trees which illustrate proactive strategies for improving your dining-out experiences: PDF icon Arriving at the restaurant.pdf


Click here for information about coping with background music in places like restaurants or reception. 


Click the links below for additional examples of problem solving in complex conditions involving music: 



American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2017, Spring). Noisy Environments Poll Summary. https://view.publitas.com/p222-4764/hearing-health-summer-2017-issue/pag...


Click here to review references used in preparation of this website. 


1. All images on this website are used under Creative Commons or other licenses or have been created by the website developers.

2. Click here to access the sources of images on this page.