How to keep those with hearing loss engaged at the dinner table

Published 14 August 2020  | Updated 18 December 2022  | 3 mins read

Whether you’re throwing a fancy dinner party or just sitting down to Sunday lunch with your family, here are our 6 top tips on how to make sure those with hearing loss aren’t left out of your conversations.

The dinner table can be a challenging environment for those with hearing loss as there are often a few conversations going on at once, cutlery clattering about and perhaps music playing in the background too.

So, if you know or suspect that one of your guests might be having difficulty hearing, make sure you follow our tips:

Location, location, location

  • Discreetly sit your hard of hearing guest at the spot on the table that’s furthest away from speakers and preferably close to soft furnishings like cushions and curtains which can absorb some of the background noise.

Keep it down!

  • Don’t put your music up so loud that people have to shout to make themselves heard. This will make it extra hard for guests with hearing loss to join in.

Turn up the lights

  • Even though dim mood lighting can be atmospheric, lip readers will need to be able to see everyone’s faces clearly to make out and understand words properly.


  • If someone keeps asking you to repeat what you’re saying, try phrasing your sentence differently as this could help them understand and make them feel more comfortable. For lip readers, certain words are easier to make out than others too.

Get their attention

  • Give a light tap on the elbow or shoulder where appropriate before communicating with someone with hearing loss – this will help them zone into what you’re saying rather than the five other conversations going on around the table.

When wearing masks in a public place:

  • Remember to consider lip readers when out and about, wearing a mask, especially in busy and noisy environments. Be patient, speak loud and clearly and be prepared to move somewhere quieter if needed.

The social effects of hearing loss can be isolating and lead to depression, social anxiety and even dementia. So, it’s really important to keep communicating with your hearing-impaired guests and check they are able to participate in the conversation as much as everyone else.

Take a free 60-second hearing assessment

If you’re concerned a family member or close friend might be suffering from undiagnosed hearing loss, why not kindly suggest they book an appointment with us for a free hearing assessment? They can call us on 0800 52 00 546, book online here or pop into their local practice. We’re very happy to accept plus-ones at our appointments if you’d like to come along for support.