Eating out has become a lot more challenging, as restaurant design and booming music have given many restaurants a club-like atmosphere. Sounds from clattering dishes, voices raised in conversation and the ever-present soundtrack rocket around the room, bouncing from one hard surface to another. It’s almost enough to inspire me to cook for myself! Well, let’s not go that far.
What if there was a way to find a quiet restaurant, or even a coffee shop for a quick meeting with a business colleague or for socializing with a friend? And what if you could do this right on your smartphone? Well, now you can.
Two apps have been launched recently — SoundPrint and iHEARu — both with a goal to help people find places for meetings and meals where they can hear each other. They both work by crowd sourcing, which means that the more people who use the apps, the more robust the information will be.
Like many good ideas, SoundPrint was launched out of personal need. The founder, Greg, who has hearing loss, was always looking for quiet venues for dates. He searched high and low online, but even when restaurants were listed as quiet, they often were not. He began measuring the sound levels of venues, keeping his own list of quiet locations and sharing them by word of mouth with friends.
So many people were interested in his list, he created an app so the information could be crowdsourced and accessed by others. The information is of great use to people in the hearing loss community, people with a variety of sensory processing disorders, and just about anyone looking for a quiet place to meet a friend. SoundPrint began in New York City and San Francisco and is now available nation-wide. Should you be interested in helping or becoming an ambassador, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
iHEARu was created by Dr. Kelly Tremblay, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Washington is Seattle and board member of Hearing Loss Association of America. An audiologist and hearing loss advocate, she designed the app as a way to help people with hearing loss find quiet places to dine and enjoy conversation. With support from the World Health Organization (WHO), Kelly hopes the app will have a global footprint. Readings have already been recorded on several continents. iHEARu launched in conjunction with Restaurant Week in San Francisco in February 2018. You can read some of the extensive press coverage here.
Restaurant Sound Levels Getting More Attention
The good news is that sounds levels in restaurants are getting more attention, both from entrepreneurs like Greg and Kelly, but also from the press, restaurants and global organizations like the WHO. This can only lead to a more positive experience for restaurant goers in the future.
Readers, how do you find a quiet place to eat?
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