Do you ever feel frustrated like this man below when you are in a noisy restaurant or bar? Struggle to hear your companion? Just wish the venue would lower their music a hair or that the group near you would stop shouting over each other? Or an easy way to find a spot that is actually Quiet?
Now you can with the new SoundPrint app (iOS SoundPrint decibel meter) that people are using to measure and submit a venue’s sound level. The app will tell you whether the sound level is actually conducive to conversation and whether its safe for your hearing health.
How cool is that? Again, how cool is that?!
You can also search everyone else’s measurements in the app. So far, more than 20,000 submissions of restaurants, bars and coffee shops have been measured and submitted. In New York City alone, more than 3,000 venues have been measured, in San Francisco its 150+ venues and growing and in many other parts of the country.
Next time you are out at a restaurant, pay attention to whether there are open kitchens, carpeting, upholstered chairs, tablecloths, plants and sound-absorbing panels to absorb sound. Also, look to see if tables are closer together to seat more people (“table density”). Chances are the venues that do not consider or implement these acoustic-friendly design elements will likely have noisier environments.
This can be dangerous because prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause hearing loss, especially for those who work in or regularly patronize bars and restaurants. Noise is the most common environmental cause of hearing loss, which is already prevalent in at least 20% of Americans. Noise also can create stress and increase the risk of stroke. Ever notice that when you leave a very noisy place, your body begins to relax…
So how can you tell whether a certain venue, whether it be a bar, restaurant, spin class, or movie theater, is conducive to conversation?
SoundPrint’s decibel meter will tell you. Download it here
SoundPrint’s guide is below
(1) Quiet = 70 dBA or lower (safe for hearing health + conducive to conversation)
(2) Moderate = 71 – 75 dBA (safe for hearing health + conducive to general conversation)
(3) Loud = 76 – 80 dBA (likely safe for hearing health, but difficult for conversation)
(4) Very Loud = 81+ dBA (unsafe for hearing health + not conducive to conversation)
Disclaimer: SoundPrint measures the approximate decibel level and is not a replacement for a professional sound level measuring device. The dBA numbers displayed on the iPhone app and the website are averages of all the historical SoundChecks measured and submitted to the database. These SoundCheck dBA numbers are historical and thus are a reasonable guess as to what the specific venue’s sound level are and will be in the future. There is no guarantee that the average dBA displayed is or will be the actual noise level in the future.