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Deafening diners: The noisiest restaurants in America

Seattle, Portland, Ore., catching up to NYC, San Francisco

It might come as no surprise that some of the most deafening dining room decibel levels can be found in New York City and San Francisco, but new data from crowdsourcing app SoundPrint shows that Seattle and Portland are catching up.

Seattle restaurants have on average of 77 dBa (a measurement of how loud sound is) and 56% of the restaurants rated on the app are too loud for conversation. Portland also registered an average dBa of 77, with 65% being too loud for conversation.

SoundPrint founder Greg Scott said that rising levels in noise pollution in restaurants are due to a combination of increased usage of modern restaurant designs with harder surfaces that don’t absorb sound as well as carpeting and tablecloths, increased background music volume and the popularity of open kitchens.=

But why should restaurants care about noise levels?

“Not many restaurants know that when users don't like the noise they often don't come back to the venue,” Scott said. “Managers may not make the connection between the two.”

Additionally, increased noise levels could contribute to hearing loss for both customers and employees.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi

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