Can An App Help You Find A Quiet Place To Eat?

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


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.

Click here to download the apps on iPhone: SoundPrint / iHEARu or Android: iHEARu and start crowd sourcing for yourself!

Readers, how do you find a quiet place to eat?

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18 thoughts on “Can An App Help You Find A Quiet Place To Eat?

  1. These apps are a wonderful idea. When I rate restaurants on Trip Advisor or Yelp I always mention whether it is a quiet place to eat or too noisy, as it is an important factor as to whether I will return or not.

    • True. I sometimes find that quiet is relative. I like the idea of a more scientific measurement, but any information is better than nothing. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Oh boy did I need this! My hearing is VERY sensitive and loud noises sound more like being stabbed in the ears with an ice pick. I avoid the malls with all of the stores blasting music all trying to compete and the smells from perfume, lotions, or candles I walk out with a migraine that lasts for days.

  3. I started using the Soundprint app about three weeks ago. My mother lives in a senior facility that has a dining room. I have always had a difficult time having a conversation in that dining room. I mostly blamed it on my hearing disability. But then I realized that most of the people in that room were not wearing hearing aids and they were talking very loudly to each other. For the past three Saturday dinners I have used Soundprint to record the noise level in the dining room. The readings were 87, 87, and 93 decibels. The diners were creating an unhealthy hearing environment for themselves.

    • Wow! That is a shame. Please make sure you pass the information onto the senior facility management. Perhaps they can install some soundproofing materials. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. I am the inspiration for that old standard, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”. However, CA and I usually manage to get to one or two venues a week in our social circuit that usually means while we are out seeing one or our doctors. HA! Living at the edge of civilization as we do, we are lucky to have quite a few little diners and coffee shops from which to choose for lunch or just a mid afternoon coffee and crumpet. Most of them are quiet enough. One such coffee shop is quite “live” but we love it anyway making it work with a noise program for my CI/HA combination and careful selection of seating. They make an effort at damping down the reverberations with hanging stuff from the ceilings and walls. They grind the beans for every cup – a completely unnecessary step in my view – and that machine sounds like an Irish banshee.

    I’lll get one of the apps you mentioned and participate in the data collection. I think it’s just one more way we can advocate for us all.

  5. These apps sound great ! Can’t wait to use them . Like many others here on this blog, I dread noisy places , especially dark restaurants when they are super crowded . I actually get “dizzy” now if the noise becomes where my brain can’t filter it or absorb it . Then you end up having to turn off your hearing aids, and hear zip , so better to just stay home !

  6. I can’t wait to use these apps. In the meantime, I choose Greek diners in New York City and also when I travel outside the city. In my experience, I have found them to be the quietest restaurants. I think that the noisy restaurants should have a “quiet dining time” each evening perhaps in place of the early bird special or in conjunction with it. We “sensitive to noise” people could eat in peace before the crowd that likes noise comes to the restaurant.

  7. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to find a quiet restaurant near me using the iHearu app ?? It all looks like regular food reviews, and I see nothing about noise ?? no decibel meter?

    The other app, SoundPrint looks great and I will test it out tonight at a restaurant.

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