Tired of Loud Restaurants? This App Will Help

Tired of Loud Restaurants? This App Will Help

In Communiation, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Research, Tips and Tricks by audseo

We go out to eat to enjoy a meal and avoid cooking for the night, but it’s more than that! It’s the lighting, ambiance, the music playing in the background, the décor, the way the food is plated and of course the company. Besides being nourished with food we often go out to eat to connect to others. However, restaurants, are difficult spots for those of us who use hearing aids or have untreated hearing loss. Many people with normal hearing don’t realize how loud a restaurant can be for those who struggle with hearing loss. It’s the roar of the kitchen, the multiple conversations happening at once, the clanking of dishes and the sounds of TVs and background music which can quickly conglomerate into high decibel levels. Hearing in noise in perhaps one of the greatest challenges for those with hearing loss. It can be extra difficult to separate the sounds you want to hear by the other sounds swirling around a space. 

The good news is there is an app to help find the quietest environments so you can enjoy good food and hear your dining company as well. SoundPrint was built by Gregory Scott Farber, a New York resident who has lived with significant hearing loss since childhood. He designed SoundPrint for those with hearing challenges and allows them to review the sound level of restaurants they’ve dined at.

Like Yelp for Sound

Yelp is a popular app which allows users to rate food, service, and overall experience. Sound prints builds on this, by allowing user input to create a comprehensive list of restaurants and the decibel levels experienced. Since it’s inception in 2018, Soundprint has been building a database of cafe and restaurant noise in over 2000 cities. This gives users of the app, not only a chance to rate restaurants by noise level but a chance to find a quiet space to dine where they can hear the people they came with. What began as a personal list of reliably quiet spots for the app founder and developer, Farber, has quickly grown into an integrative app not just for those with hearing issues but for anyone who wants to find a quiet place to eat.

How Loud is Too Loud?

The loudness of sound is measured in decibels. While an average conversation measures around 60-70 dBA, imagine what happens when multiple conversations happen at once?! The safe listening threshold is 85 dBA and past this level, permanent hearing loss can begin. At 85 dBA hearing damage can occur after 8 hours of constant exposure, but as the level climbs, the time it takes for damage to occur quickly shrinks. At 95 dBA it only takes an hour! According to Restaurant Briefing, reviewers have noted noise level averages of 80 dBA or higher in restaurants around the country. While this isn’t loud enough to damage hearing, it can make it incredibly difficult to hear, especially when you are using hearing aids or have an untreated hearing loss. The beauty of Soundprint is that it allows users to contribute to the noise level data using an in-phone meter that determines the ambient decibels of a locale.

Dining Tips for People with Hearing Loss

Even if you don’t have the app, there are still some things you can do to help your hearing in a restaurant. If you can’t avoid a noisy restaurant for one reason or another, try to find the quietest place in the establishment. This is most as far away from the kitchen as possible away from the rattle of dishes and pots. It may also be ideal to avoid peak hours, such as the lunch rush or dinner. Many have also found success choosing booths over table as the fabric and batting insulates sounds and minimizing the commotion, rather than sending it echoing through the space.

Schedule a Hearing Exam

If you’ve experienced trouble hearing last time you were in a busy restaurant, this could note some degree of hearing loss. Don’t let it go unaddressed. While hearing aids don’t reverse hearing loss, they can enhance the specific sounds you struggle with so you can hear your friends, co-workers, and family. To find out more take the first step and schedule a hearing exam today!