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.

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

  1. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
    Kathi Mestayer says:

    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:
    https://www.beaconreader.com/kathi-mestayer/restaurant-noise-no-its-not-impossible-to-fix?ref=profile

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

      1. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
        kathimestayer says:

        …or the “Acoustics Toolbox” section in this Hearing Health Magazine article (about office acoustics, but Toolbox sections applies to all kinds of spaces).
        http://online.qmags.com/HH1013?pg=1&mode=2#pg34&mode2

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      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.

  2. 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.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
    kathimestayer says:

    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.
    http://hearinghealthfoundation.org//index.php?pg=blog&blogid=18

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Interesting. Thanks!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      I agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. doreenb8 – A wanna be writer(actually that dream just came true) I live in Delaware County with my husband John, 2 terriers and a homeless lady (John brought her home last year) Together we have 5 grown-up kids and enough grand kids to start a baseball team with another on the way
    doreenb8 says:

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

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Me too! Thanks for your comment!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thank you for helping to spread the word.

  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!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great tips. Thanks for sharing them.

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