I hate this trend so much. I pretty much will not eat at a super noisy restaurant because what's the point of dining with someone when you can't hear them?
The SF Chronicle had an expose about this a year back and found that a lot of the trendy restaurant decor--concrete walls, bare ceilings, metal and glass--amplified noise and made for a more unpleasant experience.
In New York City, Indoor Noise Goes Unabated - NYTimes.com
Some research has shown that people drink more when music is loud; one study found that people chewed faster when tempos were sped up. Armed with this knowledge, some bars, retailers and restaurants are finely tuning sound systems, according to audio engineers and restaurant consultants.
“Think about places where they’re trying to get you in and out as quickly as possible,” said John Mayberry, an acoustical engineer in San Marino, Calif., who has railed against what he terms the “weaponization” of audio. “It’s real obvious what their intentions are.”
Some customers like the loudness. Younger people can withstand loud music longer, while older ones may run from it, helping proprietors maintain a youthful clientele and a fresh image.
But repeated exposure to loud noise often damages hearing and has been linked to higher levels of stress, hypertension and heart disease. Some restaurateurs said they were surprised that their decibel levels were too high, and a few said they were taking remedial measures.
Indeed, employees at noisy places are often the most affected, yet enforcement of existing noise regulations is almost nonexistent at places like these.
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