A newly released study of 50 restaurants in major US markets found that the noise levels during peak Saturday dining hours reach up to 79 decibels.
The study is part of Oticon’s media outreach program, driving awareness of the challenges people with hearing loss face in noisy environments. Restaurants included in the study were selected from TripArvisor’s list of top-rated restaurants in cities known for their food scene, such as Denver, Portland, Chicago, and Austin. While the average noise levels measured were at approximately 79 decibels, some of the noisier venues clocked in at over 82 decibels.
These results are not surprising within the context of contemporary restaurant design that favors industrial spaces. Hard surfaces, high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and open dining rooms contribute to the noise levels already heightened by large crowds that frequent popular restaurant venues.
The study shows that noisy restaurants present a challenge for many baby boomers, and others with hearing loss, as they are not able to follow a conversation. Many people can be discouraged from eating out with their family or friends, isolating themselves rather than facing a noisy restaurant environment.
Oticon’s national awareness campaign offers consumers useful advice on solving the restaurant dilemma. You can find infographics and tips on how to deal with noisy environment at oticon.com/restaurant