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.
“ 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.
20 thoughts on “Dining Out With Hearing Loss – An Architect Responds”
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:
Interesting. Thanks for sharing!
…or the “Acoustics Toolbox” section in this Hearing Health Magazine article (about office acoustics, but Toolbox sections applies to all kinds of spaces).
My husband’s hearing loss is getting worse, and finding places to eat where he can hear is difficult. Way hard.
Finding a quiet restaurant is definitely a challenge. I hope that as the population continues to age, restaurants will have no choice but to change.
I would dearly love to have dinner someplace where I didn’t have to fight to hear my beloved. And we’re not dealing with hearing loss. Just noise aversion.
I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
here’s a restaurant in Berkeley, CA that has tackled the noise issue using high-tech (noise cancelling software) and low-tech (acoustical panels painted by artists on commission) approaches.
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
I agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I have hearing loss and I really appreciate that architects and restaurant owners are paying attention to this issue.
Me too! Thanks for your comment!
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!
Thank you for helping to spread the word.
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!
Great tips. Thanks for sharing them.