Media reports in the United States and the United Kingdom have reported increasingly high sound levels in restaurants and bars over the past ten years, but accurate sound measurements are lacking. The Zagat survey found noise to be the second most common complaint among diners, barely behind poor service. This paper presents sound level measurements from more than 2250 restaurants and bars in New York City, using the novel SoundPrint smartphone app. The average sound level was found to be 78 dBA in restaurants and 81 dBA in bars. These sound levels do not allow ready conversation and pose a auditory health danger for noise-induced hearing loss and other non-auditory health issues. The reported sound levels by venue managers generally underestimated actual sound levels. Of interest are the findings that venues in certain neighborhoods and also of certain types of cuisine tend to be louder or quieter than others. The sound level values measured by the SoundPrint app have been tested against class 1 sound level meters and found to be reasonably close (within 1–2 dB). This report is a proof-of-concept study of crowd-sourced sound measurements, which can provide valuable data for the general public and health officials.
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Analyses of crowd-sourced sound levels, logged from more than 2250 restaurants and bars in New York City
Gregory Farber, Lily M. Wang; Analyses of crowd-sourced sound levels, logged from more than 2250 restaurants and bars in New York City. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 October 2017; 142 (4_Supplement): 2593. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5014494
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