Noisy restaurants and cafes are an increasing source of frustration for Australian diners. Especially for those who are hard of hearing, noisy venues are problematic. Loud background noise can turn a night out into a nightmare for people with hearing loss.
Here are ten tips to make sure you don’t end up in an unbearably noisy social environment.
- Before you make a reservation at a restaurant, check online reviews at sites such as eatability.com.au, yelp.com.au or goodfood.com.au. If any reviews mention the words ‘noisy’, ‘lively’, ‘loud’ or ‘bustling’, it might be worth booking elsewhere.
- Go to the restaurant’s website and look at the photos. If the decor is minimalist – bare walls and floors, polished concrete and lots of glass – the restaurant is highly likely to be noisy. You should avoid if you like talking to the rest of your table.
- If you can’t find reviews or pictures online, simply call the restaurant and ask about their noise levels. Explain that background noise is a problem for you and they should give you an honest answer.
- When you are being seated in a cafe or restaurant, ask to not sit anywhere near speakers, open kitchens or coffee grinders.
- If the restaurant has an outside area that’s not on the street, ask to be seated there.
- Avoid dark restaurants. Even those with perfect hearing read lips and facial expressions to a certain extent.
- When choosing a restaurant, consider old-fashioned establishments with carpet, drapes and tablecloths. Such soft furnishings absorb sound and create a peaceful, intimate atmosphere.
- If there is a noise issue, do not hesitate to let the manager know. This may prompt them to turn down the music, or at least benefit other patrons in future.
- Try to pick cafes or restaurant that don’t feature a bar section where people tend to talk loudly.
- Last but not least, simply ask for a quiet table! There’s bound to be at least one.