Last night, DH and I went to dinner at a small restaurant. The food is good but it was not crowded. The dining room was very quiet. Our waitress was friendly and helpful, but we. could. not. hear. her. She didn't seem shy. She wasn't whispering. Her voice didn't have a raspy, "I have laryngitis" quality. It was as if someone had taken a remote control and turned her volume down to the lowest setting.
Neither DH nor I couldn't hear anything she said, even in the quiet dining room, and kept having to say, "Beg pardon?" or "Could you say that again?" Even when we tried to pick up on non-verbal cues (gesturing with a water carafe to refill drinks, etc.) she had to repeat everything she said at least twice. The food was good. She was very friendly. But it was a really frustrating dining experience.
We were talking later about how awkward and rude we felt, asking her to repeat herself over and over. But there was no other way to understand her. We wondered, would it have been rude to say, "I'm having a hard time hearing you. Could you please speak up?" or similar. Thoughts?