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There truly is something heavenly about ordering out and having other people cook for you after a long day or simply just to celebrate. However, for those of us who love restaurants, it’s more than just that which we love. It’s the ambiance, the plating, the music and simply being out with family or friends. However, restaurants can be noisy too, and for people with hearing loss this can make a pleasant experience confusing and disorienting instead.
Even if you have been using hearing aids for years, an environment such as a noisy restaurant during the breakfast, lunch or dinner rush can be overwhelming. It can take extra focus to separate the conversation from your fellow dining companions over multiple conversations, background music and the clattering of food being prepared in the kitchen. Restaurants can be noisy places, but not all are as noisy as others. Today it seems like there is an app for everything and for those of us who are looking for an amazing restaurant experience without a loud clamor of sound- of course we’ve found a great app for you!
SoundPrint by now has established itself as the standard in helping Smartphone users choose a restaurant based on its decibel level. Decibels is a measure of sound pressure, or volume, and SoundPrint allows users to record the decibel level at restaurants they visit and add it to a data index of restaurants. This self-reporting function allows users to not only record the decibel level, but similar to Yelp, self-report their sound experience with any restaurant. This makes SoundPrint effectively the Yelp of noise levels in restaurants.
Founded by Gregory Scott Farber, a New York resident who has lived with significant hearing loss since childhood, he developed SoundPrint not only for himself, but anyone who is looking for a restaurant experience where they can enjoy excellent food and ambiance without the distraction of so much noise that it is hard to follow conversations from waiters or dining companions.
Since its inception in 2018, SoundPrint has been building a database of cafe and restaurant noise in over 2000 cities, allowing people with hearing issues from hyperacusis, tinnitus and hearing loss to find restaurants they can enjoy. What started as simply a personal list of reliably quiet spots for Farber has grown into a database for finding quiet spaces with great food.
Sound Level Safety
While noise thresholds have been codified for worker safety, there are limited resources to respond to an increasingly noise polluted world. In fact, some restaurants at the peak of business may reach levels loud enough to cause further hearing damage. Ambient music, the orders from waiters, the clamor of the kitchen, the clacking of dishes as they are being collected and multiple conversations can easily surpass the safe listening level of 85 dBA, leading to lasting hearing damage in addition to a disorienting experience for those already with some degree of hearing loss.
Dining Tips for People with Hearing Loss
SoundPrint is a great resource to have in your pocket however, you don’t need this app to help you find a bit more peace the next time you find yourself in a busy restaurant. Here are some tips to help you hear, the next time you find yourself in a crowd.
Position yourself away from the noise—as far from the kitchen and other dining guests as possible. Ask to be sat in a quieter place in the restaurant. If available, a booth will insulate sound better than a table and if this isn’t an option, make sure you sit with your back against the wall—which also insulates sound.
Another thing to consider is the floor and ceiling of the restaurant you frequent. Those which are carpeted or full of textiles will insulate sounds better than restaurants with high ceilings and reflective services which bounce sound and cause distracting echos.
Schedule a Hearing Exam with Us Today
If you’ve found that it is getting increasingly exhausting to navigate restaurants and you find yourself often disoriented, it may be one of the first signs of a hearing loss. The sooner you diagnose and address a hearing loss the sooner you can find solutions to help you hear better in restaurants and just about anywhere else you go. Contact us today to schedule a hearing exam with us now!