Eating in over eating out – the noisy restaurant debate

hearing threshold measurements in decibelsHave you ever been sat at a table in a restaurant, your beverage of choice flowing, the lighting setting the mood, whoever you’re dining with is across the table, and your waiter starts up a lawnmower as part of the appetiser?

It’s likely that all but one of these scenarios has happened whilst you’ve been dining in a restaurant – the lawnmower being the unlikely addition.

However, recent research by Action on Hearing Loss has suggested that the noise levels in some restaurant chains are as loud as if you were eating next to a lawnmower or whirring food processor.

The level of noise was measured in a selection of restaurants and the results showed decibel levels of around 90dB. This level of noise can cause damage to the ears in as little as 8 hours if the noise is maintained. One restaurant measured in at 97.8dB – almost the same as a chainsaw.

This research summarised that, due to loud restaurant music and minimal décor, every sound within a restaurant has more chance of being heard louder than it would do if the furnishings were less minimal.

According to the study by Action On Hearing Loss, many diners were asked about their attitude to a noisy restaurant and if they would return to the same place again to dine.


–          91% of people would avoid returning to a busy restaurant

–          43% of people said that staying in with a takeaway was becoming appealing than going out.


Diners are opting for a night in with a peaceful takeaway. This may likely be because they can’t hear their own conversation over the noisy ambience around them.

If increased levels of noise are not addressed, it could mean that restaurants will be losing potential customers because the environment to dine in is too noisy.

For those with hearing loss, this struggle can be even harder. When you are already struggling with keeping up with a conversation or missing certain words that someone is saying, being in a noisy environment can be very isolating.

Experiencing hearing loss and feeling isolated is, unfortunately, not an uncommon circumstance. For many, hearing loss can lead to social withdrawal, sadness, depression and can affect relationships with loved ones.

Seeking help if you are experiencing hearing loss is a great first step in joining the conversation again. You can find help by taking a hearing test. From there, a qualified Hearing Aid Audiologist will assess your level of hearing loss (if you have any loss at all).

If your Hearing Aid Audiologist believes it would be suitable, they can recommend hearing aids that they feel would be right for you. Although hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to what it once was, they can help to significantly improve your hearing, meaning you can make the most of the hearing you have.

Do you feel it might be time for a hearing test? At Hidden Hearing, we provide free hearing assessments and are proud suppliers of some of the world’s leading hearing aid technology. Why delay in taking a free hearing test with a qualified Hearing Aid Audiologist? Book your free assessment today!