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Denver Restaurants are fourth loudest in nation 

Denver restaurants average 80 decibels.
Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

Denver Restaurants are some noisy experiences

recent study has ranked Denver the fourth loudest city for restaurants in the nation. 

The study, conducted by the hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, studied the noise levels at America’s top 10 food cities: Nashville, Portland, Washington D.C., Denver, San Diego, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Seattle, and Austin. In each city, they monitored 50 restaurants and measured the sound levels. 

Restaurants across Denver averaged around 80 decibels during a Saturday dinner. According to Industrial Noise Control, that is comparable to standing 50 feet away from a diesel truck going 40 mph.   

This makes it tough to enjoy a night out at a restaurant; simple conversation can turn into a screaming match. 

The study was conducted by selecting TripAdvisor’s top-rated restaurants in the 10 cities, excluding national chains. Random guests sampled each restaurant in April for one hour. They used the NIOSH Sound Level Meter app—an app designed to “measure sound levels in the workplace and provide noise exposure parameters, to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss,” according to the CDC—to take five different one-minute decibel readings in the main bar area. 

The only three cities with restaurants noisier than Denver are Nashville; Portland; and Washington, D.C. The combination of live bands, music, and conversations play a large role in the noise volume. 

“Many customers are forced to ask to turn the music down to be able to hear me,” said Jessica Murfitt, a server in the Denver area. “It makes it hard for me to hear them as well. I often have to ask them to repeat their orders.” 

Restaurants are then put in an awkward spot to find a balance between the music not being too loud for some and not too quiet for others, because, some people like the noise. “I actually enjoy loud restaurants because there’s music,” Nathalie Dieme, sophomore political science major, said. “You feel young and alive, whereas when we are in a quiet restaurant, it feels more formal and uptight.” 

There seems to be mixed opinions on how loud a restaurant should be. The point of the study was to bring awareness to the situation. Oticon recommends for people to protect their hearing in loud locations by using earplugs.

To avoid too much noise or to have an audible conversation at a loud restaurant or bar, try moving away from the speakers and away from the open. Also consider going to dinner before or after restaurants’ Saturday rush.   

To read the full study, visit Oticon.com.

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