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