Think about when you go for dinner with your friends and family. Do you miss a few words here and there? Do you begin to notice the background gradually getting louder with the combination of music and chatter?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you’re not alone. Nearly four out of five respondents say they have difficulty holding a conversation in a restaurant due to the background noise. There is a cocktail of noise being concocted from open kitchens, hard surfaces, and background music combined with chatter. Our own research has found that restaurants, at their busiest, can be as loud as 90 decibels. This would be similar to eating your dinner sitting next to someone mowing the grass with a lawnmower.
This is Megan Gibbs. Megan said: "It was so noisy in Brighton Zizzi that I left feeling like I'd been to a rock concert - needless to say it was impossible to enjoy catching up with my friends.” For some being in a loud restaurant can exacerbate their tinnitus. For others, like Megan, it can prevent them from joining in the conversation. This leads to negative health effects from social isolation with people often turning down invites to dinner.
But there are ways you can try to turn down the noise this Noise Action Week. If you’re struggling to talk to your friends in a restaurant or finding the noise overwhelming then join our Decibel Squad here. You can alert others to the noise and find ways to take action to influence restaurants to make a change.