Have you ever sat down at a table in a new restaurant only to find that it’s so loud that you can’t hear a word the waiter is saying? If so, you’re not alone.
In fact, a 2018 survey by restaurant guide, Zagat, found that diners complain more about noise in restaurants than anything else. When you eat at a noisy restaurant, you not only reduce the quality of your dining experience but also expose yourself to potentially dangerous sound levels.
But what can you do? While you can’t possibly ask all of the other diners in a restaurant to be quiet – and have them listen to you – you can choose where to eat based on how noisy a restaurant is all without ever having to set foot inside.
How is this possible? The answer is simple: the SoundPrint app. With SoundPrint, you can get constantly updating information about just how noisy a particular restaurant or bar actually is so you can decide whether it’s worth your time and money.
Why Are Restaurants So Noisy?
These days, ambient noise in popular restaurants routinely reaches levels of 80, 90, or even 100 dB on a regular weekend evening. Since noises loud enough to damage your hearing occur at levels as low as 85 dB, these statistics are something to pay attention to.
While the vast majority of people wouldn’t pinpoint their favorite restaurants as a potential cause of their hearing loss, most restaurants have noise levels that far exceed “safe” noise levels. But it wasn’t always this way.
Before hip restaurants started popping up in refurbished warehouses and other previously run-down locales, the most exclusive dining venues were filled with soft, comfy chairs, carpets, and plenty of upholstery. These days, with an increasing emphasis on mid-century modern and minimalist architectural design, we have new eateries in large, open spaces with high, exposed ceilings and none of the “soft goods” often found int the restaurants of years past.
Although these minimalist, urban designs look beautiful, the lack of upholstery and carpets, as well as the tall ceilings, means that there’s nothing to absorb all of the noises in the room, leaving only hard surfaces to reflect and amplify sound. All of this means that your favorite restaurants are simply getting louder and louder with every meal.
How To Protect Yourself
Thanks to the popularity of these mid-century modern and minimalist restaurant designs, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a resurgence in carpets and upholstery in our favorite eateries. So, it’s up to us as diners to protect ourselves from these dangerous noise levels.
Thanks to a new app called SoundPrint, it’s easy to get realtime data about the noise levels in local eateries with just a click of a button. To use the app, one simply has to download it from their device’s app store.
If you want to learn more about the restaurants in your area, you can zoom around in the map feature to check out recent sound measurements in those spaces. The app color-codes and rates locations on a scale from “Quiet” to “Very Loud” based on their decibel levels, so it’s easy to find an eatery that meets your needs.
Alternatively, you can share your experience in a restaurant by taking a decibel reading in the app on your phone to record sound levels as you eat. This information feeds back into the app to help other users, like yourself, find the best place to eat without damaging your hearing. That’s something to be excited about.