How challenging are the listening situations in popular restaurants across the US? A just-released Oticon study of 50 restaurants in 10 top foodie markets found that on average during peak Saturday dining hours, diners were subjected to noise levels around 79 decibels, the hearing aid manufacturer announced. The study is part of Oticon’s national media outreach to drive awareness of the challenges restaurants and other noisy environments create for people with hearing loss. Through a combination of traditional and social media, infographics, and interviews, Oticon will deliver practical advice on how people with hearing loss can best manage noisy situations, including the benefits provided by hearing solutions with BrainHearing™ technology, like Oticon Opn™.
Noise on the Menu Almost Everywhere
Restaurants included in the Oticon study were selected from TripAdvisor’s top-rated restaurants in 10 American cities known for their restaurant scene: Austin, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, St Louis, and Washington, DC. The study showed that the noise levels at the 50 in-demand restaurants surveyed were on average at or above 79.17 decibels. In the noisiest venues, noise levels rose to 81.92 and 82.19 decibels.
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The results are not surprising. New industrial design elements that favor bare, hard surfaces, high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and open, expansive dining rooms, along with increasing crowds due to a strong economy, now make noise the number one complaint by diners, according to a 2018 Zagat survey.
Solving the Restaurant Dilemma
The Oticon study shows that noisy restaurants with high levels of ambient sound make it nearly impossible for many baby boomers and others, especially people with hearing loss, to follow a conversation at an increasing number of American eating establishments. Just the thought of sitting through a meal at a noisy restaurant can discourage people with hearing loss from dining out with family or friends.
“We understand that a vibrant atmosphere attracts patrons, and a restaurant that’s too quiet can be uncomfortable for diners,” said Vice President of Marketing Sheena Oliver, AuD. “That’s one of the reasons we developed and integrated BrainHearing™ technology in Oticon Opn™. Opn overcomes a challenge that even the most advanced solutions of today can’t solve—the ability to handle noisy environments, like restaurants, with multiple speakers. And the new Oticon ConnectClip can provide the extra help sometimes needed.”
The discreet, ConnectClip accessory serves as a remote/partner microphone so Opn users can converse more comfortably across a noisy table or hear what is being said at a distance of up to 65 feet from the main speaker.
Oticon’s national media outreach offers consumers no-nonsense advice on solving the restaurant dilemma. At oticon.com/restaurantdilemma, consumers can find colorful infographics and tips ranging from a simple reminder to “wear your hearing aids!” to information about how Oticon Opn with BrainHearing technology gives users the ability to handle noisy environments. A customizable press release allows hearing care professionals to drive awareness and interest in their own markets.
“We want to help people with hearing loss accept dining-out invitations with confidence,” said Oliver. “With Oticon Opn, they can enjoy getting together with friends and family again and know that they’ll be able to keep up with the conversation and the fun!”