The independent London newspaper

Take noise off the menu

29 September, 2017

• I AM writing to support charity Action on Hearing Loss’s Speak Easy campaign, which is asking pubs, bars and restaurants to take action to reduce background noise so that I and many others with and without hearing loss can enjoy a quieter dining experience.

I have hearing loss and I struggle to hear in quiet situations, so add in loud background noise (which my hearing aids pick up) and a conversation is impossible. It’s incredibly isolating to not understand what is being said, and to feel left out of everyday life.

I was recently in Pizza Express in Islington and I could barely hear the waiter. I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. We asked to move to a table outside because it was too noisy, but then I had traffic noise to contend with. I simply don’t understand why restaurants have to be so noisy.

I’m not alone. The charity’s campaign says that four in five people had difficulty holding a conversation because of the high level of background noise and eight out of 10 people have left a venue early.

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

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