April 28, 2022
Have you had to raise your voice when dining out in a restaurant? If you have, you’re not alone. Restaurant dining can be loud! With hearing loss, dining out in a noisy environment can be difficult. There are, however, apps that can help.
In our blog today we discuss how to find quiet places with the SoundPrint App.
Why Are Restaurants So Loud?
Many of us love heading out for a good meal with friends and family. But increasingly, noise levels in restaurants are raising concerns among patrons and restaurant staff and owners. A survey by Zagat Dining Trends looked at what people find the most frustrating when dining out. Noise topped the list, with 24% of diners mentioning it, followed by service at 23%.
According to Restaurant Briefing, reviewers have reported noise levels of 80 dB and up in dining establishments around the country. To put this into perspective, the average conversation averages around 60 dB. So what is causing the increasing noise in restaurants?
Most modern restaurants share a few design features: High ceilings, hard surfaces and virtually no soft cushions such as carpets or curtains. While this may be visually appealing, it does little to create a quiet dining experience. The lack of cushioning and high ceilings mean nothing is absorbing sound energy. The hard surfaces serve to reflect sound around the room.
When combined, these design features result in a loud space. Conversation can be difficult, and prolonged exposure can present a threat to your hearing. If you have a hearing loss, finding somewhere quiet to eat is increasingly challenging. Thankfully, the SoundPrint App can help.
What is the SoundPrint App?
SoundPrint was founded by Gregory Scott. As someone with hearing loss, he struggled to hear in noisy restaurants and bars. As he said: “I recall many times sitting at a restaurant table feeling completely lost in the conversation while others conversed and connected with each other. I would often nod my head in unison with the conversation, pretending to hear my companions when I could not, and then idly pass the time by entertaining myself with whatever fiction entered my head.”
Gregory would try to Google “quiet spots” near him, but was often left frustrated with the results. Often he found places that were listed as “quiet” were blasting loud music. He started to build up his own database of quiet spots, using a decibel meter on his smartphone and making a note of the quieter venues. From this, SoundPrint was born.
SoundPrint is “like Yelp, but for noise.” According to their website, “SoundPrint allows you to rate and review places based on their sound levels. This way you can plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.”
How to Find Quiet Places with the SoundPrint App
SoundPrint provides users with a database of venues, and includes information on how quiet or noisy they are. In addition, it includes other variables such as cuisine type, distance, and venue type.
The app ranks restaurants, bars, cafés, reading spots and more. The unique thing about SoundPrint is that the information presented is provided by real time users. Think TripAdvisor Reviews, but for sound!
Users can add new venues to SoundPrint, and outline the noise levels in the establishment. The app’s built in decibel meter allows you to record the noise in the venue, and upload to SoundPrint’s database.
Similarly, if you visit a venue that has been listed on the app, you can submit your experiences of the noise in the venue.
SoundPrint is still building its database, and welcomes user contributions. What this means for you, is that if you find a wonderfully quiet place, upload it to the app, so other people can enjoy the venue too!
If you prefer to seek out quieter spots and struggle to hear in loud environments such as restaurants, you may be experiencing hearing loss. Hearing loss causes your brain to work harder to decipher sounds or conversation. The added workload on your brain can leave you feeling exhausted, particularly if you’ve been in a noisy environment. Modern hearing aids may offer significant relief and improved social engagement, as they have the ability to filter out and minimize background noise while amplifying speech.
Have a Question? Contact Us Today!
Excessive noise in restaurants can pose a risk to your hearing. If you’d like to book in a hearing assessment, please get in touch with the hearing specialists at Audiology Professionals. Our team would be happy to help explore relief options for you. Call us today on (541) 228-9233. Alternatively, click here to contact us online.