by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
Baby boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964 and, therefore, now 55 to 73 years old, hate noisy restaurants. As this article by Sara Zeff Geber in Forbes notes, we remember when restaurants were quiet enough to enjoy both the food and the conversation. That’s rarely possible now.
As Geber notes, changes in restaurant design, and a belief that a noisy restaurant is a trendy hip one, make it difficult if not impossible to find quiet restaurants in most American cities.
More people lead busy lives and have more disposable income, so restaurants are busier than ever and restaurateurs see no need to change what they are doing.
But restaurant noise is a disability rights issue for those with hearing loss and other auditory disorders. And noise levels in many restaurants and bars are high enough to cause hearing loss.
It’s clear that market forces won’t solve the problem of restaurant noise. So what can we do? If enough people complain to enough elected officials, someone somewhere will take action to require quieter restaurants.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.