A charity is today (July 7) launching a campaign for a quieter dining experience in East Sussex.
Action on Hearing Loss’ new survey found eight out of 10 people have left a restaurant, café or pub early because of the noise.
The charity’s Speak Easy campaign is calling on the catering industry to take action on background noise.
“Through our campaign we want to help the restaurant, café and pub industry to create a more welcoming dining experience for all customers,” said chief executive Paul Breckell.
“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 of 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.”
The charity’ online poll, surveying both people with and without hearing loss, showed 81 per cent of respondents had difficulty holding a conversation because of the high level of environmental noise.
They were also united – 91 per cent – in saying they will not make a return visit to a place where the noise levels were too high.
A high level of background noise, which includes noise made by other diners, noise from the kitchen and background music was also responsible for more than a quarter – 27 per cent – of all respondents receiving the wrong order during a meal out.
“The problem is exacerbated by recent interior design trends that have seen venues employ industrial, minimalist aesthetics with lots of hard surfaces and high ceilings, which have led to increased noise levels due to a lack of furnishings that absorb sound,” said an Action on Hearing spokesman.
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