Tired of Loud Restaurants?

January 21, 2019

A group called “Pipe Down” in the U.S. are trying to raise awareness of the issue of loud music in restaurants, stores and other public places. Managers don’t seem to realise this is tiring for customers and staff alike. They aim to encourage the use of more soft fabrics and sound absorbing surfaces in the design of these spaces to make it easier to hear. 

A Classic Quiet Restaurant

I remember as a teen we used to frequent a classic old Chinese restaurant called Ali-San in the Claremont area of Perth. It was very acoustically friendly. They used plenty of soft furnishings including table clothes, curtains, carpet and even fabric napkins. This all made for a nice quiet environment even on the busier nights. It was conducive to gentle more intimate conversation. 

After many successful years, Ali-San finally closed its doors. To my memory this seems to represent a turning point, the disappearance of the classic style restaurant.

Modern Restaurants Reflective Surfaces

Modern restaurant are largely made up of hard uncovered surfaces. These include; floors, tables and windows. These modern designs are acoustically very un-friendly. They act as resonating chambers. To top it off they pump out loud music. My mother calls it the “Doof” music. The thudding base is high energy low frequency sound waves. These low frequencies pulse around this resonating chamber masking over the high frequency details of speech. 

A Strong Emotional Reaction

It is little wonder that even people with normal hearing find it a challenge to follow conversation in noisy restaurants with loud music. It is very understandable that people with hearing loss develop a strong emotional aversion to attending social gatherings in such place. 

You can read an interesting article by Julia Belluz called “I can’t hear you’ who writes for Vox Media. She explains how noise levels in some modern restaurants even posed a hearing health risk being in excess of 80dB. The articles goes on to make some excellent recommendations on how modern restaurants can improve their acoustics.

You can read the article here https://www.vox.com/2018/4/18/17168504/restaurants-noise-levels-loud-decibels

Turn off that loud noise

According to an interview in the Times, Gorki Duhra from Action on Hearing Loss, stated: “For some people loud music and noise is irritating. If you can’t even have a conversation there’s something wrong.

Background music makes it harder to pick up a particular voice. We would ask restaurants not to play any.”

This is a common problem and many people are annoyed at the loud background noises. Even those without hearing loss.

It will take a long time for this movement to reach our area, come see me if you are having issues with hearing. 

Together we’ll find the best solution for you! Simply Call 1800 020 406 or use our online formhttps://harmonyhearing.com.au/book-an-appointment/

Andrew Mackendrick (Harmony Hearing)

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