NOISE: Keep it down in eateries

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I am writing to support Action on Hearing Loss’ (formerly RNID) Speak Easy campaign, which is asking pubs, bars and restaurants to reduce background noise so that I, and many others with and without hearing loss, can enjoy a quieter dining experience.

As someone who is deaf, dining out is something that I tend to avoid as the excessive background noise makes it very difficult to socialise. This means that I miss out with my friends, family and colleagues.

It is becoming more common that restaurants style themselves open plan, which plays havoc with the acoustics.

Even worse, in shopping centres, they now have food malls with popular brands next to each other and open fronted. This means the volumes go up as the noise from each restaurant combines into one almighty din.

It really is a backward step and I do worry what this is doing to people’s hearing.

The campaign says that four in five people had difficulty holding a conversation because of a high level of background noise and eight out of 10 have left a venue early.

I am urging the catering industry to take noise off the menu so that I can enjoy going out with friends, colleagues and family without having to raise my voice, or guess my way through conversations.

Michelle Hedley

Cramlington