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      Why we are campaigning

      Our Speak Easy campaign encourages restaurants, cafés and pubs to consider ways their customers can enjoy a good conversation without struggling over background noise.

      Background noise is a major and growing problem for people both with and without hearing loss when they eat and drink in restaurants, cafés and pubs in the UK.

      Interior design trends have seen venues employ bold, sleek aesthetics with hard surfaces and high ceilings. Unfortunately, without furnishings that absorb sound, the high level of noise created by a room full of conversations – and increased further by background noise like coffee machines, scraping chairs and piped music – makes it much harder for many people to have a decent conversation.

      How big is the problem?

      In 2016, we carried out an in-depth survey of almost 1,500 people about noise in restaurants, cafés and pubs, and the findings, published in our Speak Easy report, were startling.

      • 77% of people believe venues have become noisier in the past 5 years
      • 9 out of 10 people said background noise is the biggest problem they face when eating out

      Furthermore, customers are starting to vote with their feet.

      • 79% of people have left an establishment early because it was too noisy
      • 91% said they’d never go back to a loud venue
      Read our speak easy report

      How we’re helping restaurants

      The Speak Easy campaign isn’t calling for complete silence. We’re encouraging restaurants to consider simple ways to allow customers to enjoy a good conversation without struggling to hear.

      Some of these – such as turning down background music to a comfortable level – are cost-free. Other low-cost solutions include introducing speaker-free zones or adding softer furnishings to absorb sound, such as tablecloths, rugs and cushions.

      Another option is to add ‘acoustic treatments’ such as wall and ceiling panels, which reduce noise levels by diffusing or absorbing sounds, and can be designed to complement the existing aesthetics of your venue.

      Speak Easy report

      A comprehensive report calling on restaurants, cafés and pubs to reduce background noise.

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