Steve Cuozzo of the NY Post reports that “leading otolaryngologists — better known as ear, nose and throat specialists — warn that dining at the city’s noisy restaurants can lead to hearing loss.” In his piece, Cuozzo interviewed Dr. Darius Kohan, director of otology/neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and its affiliate Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, who states that, “[he tells his] patients to avoid these places,” adding that loud restaurants are the number one complaint he gets as an ear doctor.
Cuozzo visited a number of Manhattan hotspots where he recorded decibel readings from 90 to 101, all of which have the potential to permanently damage hearing over time. Again quoting Dr. Kohan, he writes that “[w]ith repeated, prolonged exposure, ‘you start losing high-frequency sounds such as women’s and children’s voices,’ adding that “[i]f damage to the cells advances to a certain point, ‘a consequence is that you begin to lose hearing.’
Importantly, the article highlights the insidious nature of this aural abuse, particularly with respect to the customers. Namely, that “[u]nlike restaurant employees, whose ears take a beating night after night, customers might not even know it’s happening.” As a result, if and when customers begin to suffer hearing loss, they may “think it’s just from age.”
Equally important, the reporter takes care to note that not everyone who complains about the noise levels “are old fogeys.” As noted in an earlier post, one reason that restaurants are so loud is the misguided belief that younger customers are drawn to loud spaces.
One hopes that the recent spate of articles decrying the levels of noise in American restaurants encourages city governments to regulate indoor noise pollution at places of public accommodation. One thing is becoming increasing clear: loud restaurants are not a mere annoyance, they are a health issue.
Thanks to M. Slice for the link.