It’s something that can spoil a meal out or drinks with friends, and Action for Hearing Loss has recently launched its Speak Easy campaign, calling on the catering industry to take action on background noise.
In an online survey, the charity found that eight out of 10 people have left a restaurant, café or pub early because of high levels of background noise, which includes noise made by other diners, noise from the kitchen and background music.
The problem is made worse by recent interior design trends that have seen venues employ industrial, minimalist aesthetics with hard surfaces and high ceilings, which exacerbate noise levels due to a lack of furnishings that absorb sound.
Three out of every four people who responded to the survey said they’d visit more restaurants, cafés and pubs if noise levels were lower, with 91% of people saying they wouldn’t go back to a venue where noise levels were too high.
Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, told us: “We want to help the restaurant, café and pub industry to create a more welcoming dining experience for all customers. Whether you’re out for a meal with friends, or if you’re on a date, you should be able to enjoy it without having to repeat yourself, raise your voice or receive the wrong order due to high levels of background noise.
“There are 11 million people in the UK with hearing loss so financially, it’s a no-brainer for the industry to help make dining out even more enjoyable and accessible. Three-quarters of people believe that restaurants, cafés and pubs have become louder in the last five years and we look forward to working with the catering industry to help take noise off the menu.”