Tag Archive: quiet hour

UK supermarket starts quiet hour for people with autism

Photo credit: Steve F licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

People with autism are bothered by noise, so the British supermarket chain Morrison’s is implementing a weekly quiet hour to help them shop.

Many other shoppers are bothered by noise, including those of us with tinnitus and hyperacusis, and people with hearing loss. In fact, loud ambient noise makes it difficult if not impossible for people to converse, even those with normal hearing.

We know that retail studies show that loud background music encourages people to spend money, but we think that most people want quiet, and  loud background music drives many adults away from restaurants and stores.

And we know for sure that loud noise causes hearing loss, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease–the scientific evidence is incontrovertible.

If enough shoppers complain to store managers about unwanted and unneeded noise, perhaps stores will become quieter.

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.

Accommodation for autistic customers gaining steam in the UK

Photo Credit: Clive Darra

Tesco trialling a ‘quiet hour’ to help autistic customers do their shopping. Maya Oppenheim and Katie Forster, The Independent, write about Tesco’s pilot scheme, which it is trialing at one of its locations for six weeks on Saturday mornings. If the trial is successful, the quiet hour will be rolled out across Tesco stores nationwide.  What will Tesco be doing to make the shopping experience more tolerable for autistic customers? “The trial includes a wide range of measures to improve the browsing and paying experience for autistic customers such as dimmed lights and quieter tannoys [loudspeaker systems].”

Tesco is the largest grocery chain in the UK, and it also has stores in 12 countries across Asia and Europe. If the pilot scheme is successful and Tesco implements a quiet hour on a larger scale, this could be a significant victory for autistic and noise sensitive people.

Link via @QuietEdinburgh.

 

It looks like the campaign to provide noise-free shopping is progressing:

Scottish shopping center to introduce a quiet hour to make mall “more autism-friendly.”

In the UK, at least, business owners are beginning to understand that there is an underserved market that is eager for noise-free environments.  While efforts to address this market may be driven in part by compassion, there is no doubt that a robust response by the buying public will make quiet hours de rigueur.  Let’s hope the UK experience is profitable, because that may give incentive to U.S. businesses to design quieter spaces.

More of this, please:

UK Supermarket to Offer Quiet Hour for Customers Who Hate Noisy Supermarkets.

The UK Asda chain is trying out a quiet hour at one store in Manchester.  During this hour, escalators will be stopped and display TVs and music will be turned off.  According to store manager Simon Lea, “the sixty minutes of silence was aimed at autistic shoppers who struggle with loud noises – but the idea has also been welcomed by thousands of locals fed up with the constant racket in supermarkets.”

We hope this is a huge success and that Asda’s example encourages other businesses to follow suit.

Link via QuietEdinburgh.