Being Assaulted By Sound Waves


We’ve received hundreds of quiet dining recommendations and comments from listeners who have joined the Anti-Noise Pollution League – and we’re not the only ones who desire civilized drinking and dining. A recent article in the Toronto Star brought up some good points:

Just as restaurateurs have had to increase the font on menus to deal with aging customers, they’re having to turn down the music or dial up the use of materials that take the edge off what Bonacini calls “lean, mean, clean” minimalist restaurant aesthetics.

“I find the dining public to be much more prepared to make decisions (about where they will eat) based on noise levels and not just the quality of food and service.”

Gael Hannan is good at scouting out the best seat in the house. It’s in a corner where she can have her back against a wall and her ears away from the chaos of the kitchen.

“I always say that the romantic ambience of a restaurant is quite different for me than for other people,” laughs Hannan, 57, who suffered severe hearing loss at birth. “They say, ‘Can we have a candle for the table?’ I say, ‘Can we have 20 so I can see my husband’s lips?’ ”

Being seated in the centre of a bustling bistro is an isolating experience for Hannan. She is literally assaulted by sound waves, be they cheerful conversations or clanging plates. “Restaurants are a joy of life. But modern restaurants can be a nightmare for those who are hard of hearing.”

(Click here to read the rest of the article).

Many of our listeners have had similar experiences to Gael:

  • “Why would anyone go to a restaurant with loud music and blaring t.v.’s when they could be dining in a soothing and calming atmosphere?” – Erin
  • “The noise levels everywhere are getting intolerable and needlessly dangerous. Young people have no idea how they are jeopardizing their hearing on a daily basis. In fact statistics indicate that many teenagers cannot hear leaves rustling in the wind, raindrops and consonants.” – Janet
  • “For many years my husband and I were distraught as every restaurant we went to we had to be yelling at each other. We got fed up and would ask the waiter to turn down the music. They grudgingly complied, but soon the volume would go up again, and we would have to ask yet again that the volume be turned down. We basically don’t dine out as often anymore because it’s just not worth the aggravation.” – Dorothy

What are your recommendations for civilized dining? Join the Anti-Noise Pollution League and let us know!

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