By simply loading up a picture from the venue on social media giving a thumbs up or down depending on their experience, placing a review on customer-feedback websites or by discreetly leaving a note when paying a bill customers can make themselves heard.
Rob Burley, Action on Hearing Loss Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns explained: “Action on Hearing Loss launched the Speak Easy campaign earlier this year by contacting all the main players in the industry and inviting them to talk to us about the effects that excessive noise has on their customers and the simple steps they can take to make venues more accessible for people – whether they have hearing loss or not.
“Unfortunately the response from the industry has been quite slow so far and we are now calling on all those in West Midlands tired of having to shout just to have a conversation over a meal out to make their views heard. If you had to repeat yourself or raise your voice to be heard during a meal and certainly if you received the wrong order due to high levels of background noise – make sure to let the staff know, rate venues against the noise levels and share the information.
“Hopefully venues will take note of their customers’ feedback and together we can work with the industry to help take noise off the menu.”
Action on Hearing Loss research shows that eight out of ten people have left a restaurant, café or pub early because of the noise with three quarters of people saying they would dine out more often if venues were quieter. The online poll that surveyed both people with and without hearing loss also showed that 81% of respondents had difficulty holding a conversation because of the high level of environmental noise which includes noise made by other diners, noise from the kitchen and background music.
The problem is exacerbated by recent interior design trends that have seen venues employ industrial, minimalist aesthetics with lots of hard surfaces and high ceilings, which have led to increased noise levels due to a lack of furnishings that absorb sound.