Are restaurants and bars too loud in New York City? Landmark case study….

An evidence-based study to raise noise pollution awareness was presented last month at INTER-NOISE 2018 in Chicago by Gregory Scott, Founder of SoundPrint.

This is, according to the Abstract: The first large-scale study conducted on sound levels, using the novel SoundPrint smartphone app, of more than 2250 venues in New York City shows that the average sound level of restaurants is not conducive to conversation for patrons and a great number of venues potentially endanger the hearing health of venue employees.

Below is a summary of the excellent presentation made by Greg in Chicago and more info about the SoundPrint App and the overall approach.

Criteria for assessing the noise levels

The SoundPrint criteria for assessment.


Noise levels in New York Restaurants & bars

The overall findings relating to the criteria and the average sound levels measured


How the SoundPrint App looks in practice

3 screen shots displaying; sound levels inc. max and average, city location and name of venue.


Infographic overview of the findings so far

A comprehensive infographic which summarises the key findings.


Interesting findings by types of cuisine

Interestingly Indian and Chinese restaurants were the quietest, followed by Japanese. Mexican, Latin, Spanish and American and Mediterranean were much higher. It would be interesting to go deeper into these differences and explore if there is a cultural effect to the overall atmosphere and also how much the room acoustics affects the sound levels with differences in the balance of hard and soft finishes and furnishing. Some food for thought the next time you are out dining……

Download the above infographic to read in more detail from SoundPrint here.

Greg’s work so far has been outstanding and the next steps for SoundPrint are to:

  • Use the data to promote noise pollution awareness to venue managers, local entities and governments, and the general public
  • Conduct more data collection in more cities
  • Encourage users and the general public to download the app and crowdsource their sound level measurements whenever out at a venue

The full Inter-Noise 2018 paper will be available soon.

For more info see the SoundPrint homepage or contact Greg here.

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