Dining Out With Hearing Loss – An Architect Responds

I am happy to see that my recent post How To Choose A Restaurant When You Have Hearing Loss is getting some attention! It is clear from the response that dining out is not only challenging for people with hearing loss, but for everyone. The issue of restaurant noise is so important, it inspired leading Los Angeles-based architect Anthony Poon to share his thoughts on how important acoustics are to any good restaurant design.

In his post My Ears Are Ringing, he provides several tricks of the trade that restaurants can use to improve acoustics for all. These suggestions include: using sound absorbing materials on the bottoms of tables, interspersing softer surfaces like leather armrests among the hard surfaces of modern decor, and adjusting wall angles to create less echo. 

His conclusion:

“ Include acoustic ideas as part of every design discussion, not as an afterthought or something trivial. www.poondesign.com

Now, if only other architects would take note. 

Chaya Downtown, Los Angeles, California, by Poon Design (photo by Gregg Segal). Winner of International Design Award for Best Restaurant from The American Institute of Architects.

 Living With Hearing Loss is also on Facebook and Twitter!

20 thoughts on “Dining Out With Hearing Loss – An Architect Responds

  1. Most important, according to the Acoustical Society of America, is designing for acoustics. The size and shape of the room (and surrounding spaces) have a big impact, and are really, really tough to mitigate using acoustical materials. Although those can be effective, too, and even attractive, like the ones in the article below:

  2. It can really affect the experience, so I’m glad restaurateurs/architects are taking note! Especially when you go out for a social occasion and then can’t enjoy the conversation—it wrecks it! jodie

  3. I have hearing loss and I really appreciate that architects and restaurant owners are paying attention to this issue.

  4. I have a dear uncle who has all but given up dining out due to his hearing loss. I am forwarding your post to him with hopes that other architects will take note!

  5. Always tell the server about your hearing loss! I have found that most places will let me chose a table where I can sit with a wall behind me or in a booth if arriving on spec. When booking, if dining in a group we request a circular table in a corner. People are most often helpful.Bon appetit!

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