In your own kitchen

1.a. Reducing background noise in the kitchen

A point to remember is that hard surfaces cause echo (i.e. they reflect sound).

Floor coverings:

1. The following floor coverings have been found to be useful in cutting down background noise: carpet, cork mats, and soft vinyl floor covering.  (Editor’s note: rugs can be dangerous unless secured.)


2. Using curtains at the windows or blinds made of soft, non-reflective materials can help.

3. Wooden cupboards have been found to be better than formica ones.

4. Some people use wooden work surfaces as well.

5. Bookshelves and tapestries, wall-hangings, etc, can help to absorb the sound, but need to be kept away from cooking appliances.

6. Some people like a wood panelled ceiling.

7. Acoustic tiles can be used on the ceiling.


8. I stop the noise and save on washing up by having mugs instead of cups and saucers.

9. A rubber mat on the draining board and even work surfaces will help to absorb sound.

10. Several layers of kitchen paper on the draining board and work surfaces deadens the sound.

11. Folded tea towel on the draining board deadens the sound.


12. Some people like to have a radio, tape or CD player or TV in the kitchen, but others hate it.

13. If you are buying a new fridge or other equipment choose quieter ones.

14. I’ve put the kettle on a cork mat, it seems to make it less noisy when it’s boiling – no more rattling!


1.b. Hearing aids (Kitchen)

Some people turn them down, or turn them off and take them out when there are noisy machines on. You will still need to look round for warning signals because you probably will not then hear taps running, etc.


1.c. Talking to people (Kitchen)

1. I move to another room if I want to talk, though I then have to remember not to let anything boil dry.

2. I ask people not to come into the kitchen for a chat if I am chopping things or doing something I need to concentrate on as I can’t lipread them and do things at the same time.  Sometimes I take my hearing aids out or turn them off, so I tell people we’ll have a chat over a cup of tea later.

3. I ask people to attract my attention and give me time to stop doing what I’m doing before they talk to me.

4. I explain that the kitchen is a difficult place to hear in and say why I find it difficult (e.g. running tap, mixers, poor acoustics as appropriate). I then explain how they can help me – e.g. wait until I’ve turned the machine off.

5. I explain that lipreading is difficult and even dangerous if I am doing anything like cooking or washing up or cutting or peeling anything.

6. I hate people talking to me in the kitchen as it leaves me exhausted as I am having to concentrate on too many things.

7. I enjoy talking to people in the kitchen providing that they follow the rules and are prepared to repeat, etc.


1.d. General (Kitchen)

1. Have a good light in the kitchen so that you can lipread.

2. Put a mirror up to let you see people entering the kitchen so that you will not be surprised.

3. I ensure good ventilation so that I can avoid steam as steam is bad for hearing aids.


1.e. General (Kitchen-diners/ Dining Room)

If possible:

1. Choose quieter machines

2. Switch machines off while you are eating (e.g. mixers, extractor fans, fan ovens, microwaves).

3. Some people have the dining area as far from the kitchen end as possible.

4. Carpet at least the dining area of the room to reduce the noise of chairs scraping, etc.

5. Use thick table cloths and put newspaper under them if necessary. This can also help to reduce the noise level.

6. Wall hangings, etc, will help to reduce the sound, but caution is needed to place them where they are not a fire hazard.

7. As it is often a noisy crowded room read Chapter 4 “Crowded rooms” to see if there is anything relevant such as turning your aid down.