Just last week, my college pals and I reconnected for a reunion over dinner. We picked a restaurant whose menu we knew would please all of our finicky diets. What we didn’t check, however, was the rating of the noise level, which many reviewers now indicate with “noise bomb” icons. This one was off the charts, and even though we are still blessed with good hearing we (and the wait-staff) had to yell to be heard.
Needless to say, the decibel level will be a factor in how I select a restaurant in the future. It’s especially important to check if you or your dining companions wear a hearing aid, which amplifies all surrounding noises and can make ambient sound even louder. I remember taking my father out to dinner and he fiddled with his hearing aid before taking it off, because the noise was intolerably loud for him.
I’ve recently discovered an APP, which will help me in my quest for a restaurant with a reasonable noise level. It’s called Soundprint. It’s easy to use and its built-in sound meter enables your smartphone to record and submit the restaurant’s decibel level, which helps build their database of locations, which in turn will help other noise-averse diners.
I checked the listings of restaurants near where I live in Miami and found several with decibel levels over 85, which OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) says is VERY loud. Next time I want to have a relaxing evening out with friends, I may avoid those and look for a restaurant with a Quiet (less than 70) or Moderate (71-75) decibel rating. I have a hunch that many of you have become as noise-averse as I am, so give it a try and let me know if you’ve discovered some good restaurant finds - those with good food and a reasonable noise level.
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