Diners who are fed up with the excessive noise levels in restaurants are being invited to join national charity Action on Hearing Loss’ ‘Decibel Squad’ to let the industry know that they’re sick of the din.
Last month, the charity published recordings of noise levels in some of the UK’s most popular chain restaurants as part of its Speak Easy campaign.
The shocking results found that many of the eateries, including Patisserie Valerie and Wagamama, topped over 90db on busy nights, which is the equivalent of eating next to a motorcycle or lawnmower.
To get the word out to the industry’s biggest chains, Action on Hearing Loss is inviting people to have their voices heard by becoming a part of its new Decibel Squad, an online community of people sharing information on how loud or quiet restaurants they have visited are. Members are encouraged to take decibel readings at various venues and publish the results on Twitter, Facebook and Trip Advisor using the #DecibelSquad hashtag.
The charity also set up a Facebook group, where members can share decibel readings, leave reviews and recommend quiet spots to eat. To become a part of the community, visit: www.facebook.com/groups/DecibelSquad/
If you’re not sure how to take a decibel reading, just follow these three easy steps:
Download the free app Decibel 10
Use the app to record the noise levels at a restaurant
Publish the results on Twitter, Facebook and Trip Advisor using the #DecibelSquad hashtag
The ultimate aim is for restaurants, cafes and bars to make their spaces more accessible to people with hearing loss. They can do it through investing in sound absorbent material, locating the kitchen away from diners or simply keeping background music at a lower volume.
Freya Moses, 31, was recently diagnosed with hearing loss in her left ear and now wears a hearing aid. The designer, from Cornwall, admitted that since her diagnosis she is very anxious about being in noisy venues when out with friends.
She said: “I went to the doctors thinking I had a blocked ear after I had noticed that I couldn’t hear things well in my left ear, especially in places with background noise or if I was talking in a group.
“Even though I now wear a hearing aid, trying to have a conversation over all of the background noise is pretty much impossible. I find myself just nodding along as if I had heard them, which makes me feel excluded and like I am in my own little bubble. I still go out but where possible I will avoid really noisy places. I'm also now very anxious that by being in a noisy environment that I will be causing further damage to my ears.”
Freya, who turned to her artwork as a way to express herself after her diagnosis, has created original designs for the Decibel Squad’s campaign.
Paul Breckell, Action on Hearing Loss’ Chief Executive said: “Although this is particularly an issue for people with hearing loss, noisy restaurants are increasingly becoming an annoyance for anyone who wants to escape the noise when socialising with family and friends.
“In a survey of 1,200 people published last month, we found that over 43% of potential diners have opted to get a takeaway instead of going out for a meal, and 91% stated that they wouldn’t return to a noisy place.
“Publishing decibel readings and sharing it with the world might be the only way to get venues to address their noise levels and make their spaces more accessible for not just people with hearing loss but everyone.”
Contact for media enquiries:
Notes to Editors
For the Speak Easy campaign Decibel readings taken on Wednesday 30 August 2017 from a selection on top restaurant chains are available upon request.
The decibel app, the app we recommend using is Decibel 10 for iPhone and Android.
Sound clips are available upon request which reflect a loud restaurant and also a restaurant that has been acoustically treated
The survey polled 1200 people from the general public between 3 February 2017 and 6 February 2017, across the UK – A breakdown of the survey results are available upon request, including gender, age and location.
Action on Hearing Loss Speak Easy Campaign Pack is available to download via https://secure.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1783&ea.campaign.id=59599&ea.tracking.id=WebCampaignPage&_ga=2.103026505.898529152.1505210412-817295836.1496411536
The report, Speak Easy: Hearing the views of your customer and The report’s companion guide, Speak Easy: How to improve the customer experience, details the practical steps that restaurants, cafés and bars can take to reduce background noise is available via https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/how-we-help/information-and-resources/publications/research-reports/speak-easy-report/
Action on Hearing Loss spokespeople and case studies are available for interview upon request, with a range of infographics/images.
Action on Hearing Loss helps people to confront deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way. Action on Hearing Loss gives people support and care, develop technology and treatments, and campaign for equality.