App Helps Find a Quieter Spot

Taking mom out for brunch is a time-honored tradition in many families as a way to say thank-you on her special day for all she does.  But older adults may find the general din of many restaurants, especially those with high ceiling and lots of hard surfaces, makes it difficult to enjoy the conversation. A new app developed to measure and share noise levels in restaurants, cafes and bars may be the answer to a problem so many people experience when trying to pick a restaurant.

According to a recent report in The Guardian, SoundPrint is described a the “Yelp for noise”.  After downloading the app, users can search for restaurants that are conducive to conversation for adults who may have some hearing loss.  According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, nearly 20 percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss and untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased risk for depression and cognitive decline.

SoundPrint relies on users to record their surroundings and the app then assigns a rating; quiet, moderate, loud or very loud.  Users can search nearby restaurants and make a choice based on the noise level.  Although relatively new in North America, the app has received more than 60,000 submissions, many across the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.  But as more people learn about the app and make their own submissions, the usability will continue to grow. 

In the meantime, when you are looking for a restaurant and want to make sure that everyone can participate in the conversation, look for places with plenty of soft furnishings that absorb sound.  And it wouldn’t hurt to gently let restaurant owners when the noise level is uncomfortable, perhaps suggest the music be turned down a notch.  With a rapidly aging population and more hearing problems being reported from chronic exposure to loud music through earbuds over time, noise levels in public spaces is a growing concern for adults of all ages. 

Learn more about the SoundPrint app and find your quiet place for reading, talking or just relaxing by following this link to the tech app website.