The results of a recent study of restaurant noise levels in Seattle and Portland show that the two Pacific Northwest cities are nearing the noise levels of New York City and San Francisco, which have two of the noisiest restaurant scenes nationwide.
SoundPrint, a crowdsourcing app known as the “Yelp for noise,” has a built-in decibel meter that allows users to measure sound levels and find quieter restaurants and bars worldwide.
The study’s data, based on measurements from over 2,300 venues, shows that on average, Seattle restaurants have noise levels of 77 dBA, with 56% of venues being too loud for conversation (> 75 dBA) and 24% above 80 dBA, a level that can potentially endanger the hearing health of venue employees and patrons. Portland also registered an average of 77 dBA, with 65% being too loud for conversation and 27% above 80 dBA.
“Many people don’t have a concept of healthy noise levels,” said Gregory Scott, the founder of SoundPrint. “This can pose a problem when you are trying to have a conversation, and can be dangerous to one’s health. Excessive noise is a serious public health issue as 40 million American adults, nearly 24%, may have noise-induced hearing loss.”