Waiter, can I have some earplugs, please?

Modern restaurants are noisy. Tests performed in London show that the sound levels in some trendy restaurants sometimes exceed the recommended sound levels for certain industries.

The modern surroundings in some restaurants with uncarpeted floors and bare walls can make dining a very noisy experience. This was the conclusion, as described in the magazine New Scientist, after research had been carried out at some of the most popular restaurants in London. The magazine also pointed out that waiters ought to consider wearing industrial hearing protectors if they were to avoid possible hearing loss. If you are a regular customer at modern high tech restaurants you should consider bringing your own earplugs.

According to the New Scientist the results of the study were astonishing. The research team visited nine restaurants and several pubs and wine bars.
None of the restaurants played music. Nevertheless, in four of the restaurants the average sound levels were 88 decibels or more. At one restaurant the peak value was 97 dB. The magazine wrote: "curiously, that's the sound level that the official government guide, The Noise at Work Regulations, describes as made by a pighouse at feeding time, although we hate to draw this comparison".

The reason behind these disturbing results could be the current fashion in trendy restaurants. Bare concrete floors and ceilings can make the rooms unbelievably noisy. Sounds from conversations are reflected off the walls and floors with very little loss of energy.

The noise seems to be self-perpetuating. In such surroundings people have to speak louder to make themselves heard, which results in an increased noise level. When the sound level reaches approximately 80 dB the guests will have to shout in order to be heard.

The research team had lunch in some of the most popular restaurants in London, bringing with them a decibel meter. They made several sound level readings at each location, examining both the average and the highest sound levels.

According to the article, traditional restaurants are much safer for your hearing. Carpets, tablecloths and curtains make for a much healthier environment as far as noise is concerned.

Get our news about hearing loss

If you want to receive news from us on hearing loss and other hearing related issues, then please subscribe for our newsletter
Can you pass our hearing test?
Try hearing test
Listen to hearing loss
Get news updates from hear-it
How good is your hearing?
Can you pass our hearing test ?
Try free hearing test