Hear here!

Photo credit: Rachel Claire

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Hear here! I know a good line when I steal one, but I always give credit. I took this line from The University of Alabama’s Hear Here Alabama Project, which I recently found online. Here’s the link to the project’s May 15 post on restaurant noise. In it, I am mentioned as a leading advocate for noise pollution awareness, which made me smile, but that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing because Hear Here Alabama mentions an article stating that restaurant noise levels average 94 decibels. A Google search for that article was unsuccessful, but I did find another article about restaurant worker noise exposure. Ninety-four decibels exceeds occupational safe noise limits, but I also found that the lower sound levels mentioned in the article exceed safe noise recommendations. 

My noise concerns aren’t about workers, but instead about the public. Workers have recommended and permissible occupational exposure limits for noise, and the workers compensation system to compensate them for hearing loss, including providing hearing aids if necessary. The public has no such protections.

If enough people complain about restaurant noise to their local city or town council, maybe someone who has hearing loss, someone who has a relative with hearing loss, someone with noise sensitivity from military-related PTSD or someone on the autistic spectrum will push forward a local ordinance on restaurant noise. That’s what happened with smoking in restaurants, where small cities passed no-smoking ordinances. When bars and restaurants didn’t all go out of business, other cities followed suit. After all, a report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that restaurant noise levels pose health risks.

Please join us in working towards a quieter world, both in restaurants and in our neighborhoods. A quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all.

Share this article:

Article Categories

Search Articles