Action on Hearing Loss members are fed up with noisy cafés, pubs and restaurants – but it’s not just people with hearing loss who want quieter public places. Do you find dining out too loud to enjoy yourself?
Whether you’re out for after-work drinks with colleagues at the local pub, a family meal at a restaurant or a quick coffee with friends in a cosy café, we tend to think of going out for food or a drink as a social activity.
Part of what attracts many of us to a particular venue is its atmosphere or ‘buzz’ – but how much is too much?
Public places should be quieter
At Action on Hearing Loss, our members told us in a recent survey that they wanted us to focus on making cafés, pubs and restaurants more accessible, as they are often no-go areas for people with hearing loss.
We think this is a problem that affects lots of people, with or without hearing loss. And it’s something that seems to be backed up by many Which? Convo community members. Sharon, for instance, recently commented on how she’s fed up with piped music ruining her evening:
‘Muzak in public places is a modern scourge, but worst of all is muzak in restaurants, pubs and cafes. When you go for a meal, you’re there for an hour or so to enjoy the food and chat to your companions.’
The widespread use of background music and the fashion for open-plan designs and hard furnishings are just two factors which can help create a high level of background noise in these spaces.
As conversations become louder and louder, fighting to overcome the existing level of noise can create quite a stressful environment – whether you have hearing loss or not. I know I find it uncomfortable to sit in these places too long, struggling to hear my friends and family and needing to shout to make myself heard.
Do you think eating out is too noisy?
Have you ever moved on to a new pub because it was too loud to hold a conversation? Or thought twice about going back to a restaurant because of the noisy dining experience? I know I have!
We would love to hear about your dining experiences. Is ease of conversation something you consider when choosing where to go out? And if you think this is as big a problem as we do, what do you think cafés, pubs and restaurants should be doing differently to get you back through the door?
This is a guest contribution by Luke Dixon of Action on Hearing Loss. All opinions are Luke’s own, not necessarily those of Which?