Loud restaurants could affect your hearing

You've probably been in a restaurant that was so loud, it was hard to carry on a conversation.

But it still may surprise you to find out that the sound levels in some restaurants are so high they rival the noise made by a blender.

Using both a noise measuring app and sound meter, sound levels reached an average of 83 decibels while some got as high as 95 decibels; equivalent to a lawn mower.

Jason Wigand is a clinical audiologist who says it's a growing problem.

"We've seen over the years restaurants are getting noisier. It's an area that has often gone unchecked. People don't expect to have any kind of damaging exposure, be it to noise, be it other factors when they go out to restaurants," he said.

Typically, Wigand says experts consider damaging noise levels to be over 85 decibels. And dining out is often the last place you would associate with hearing issues.

Debra Gold works in an office during the week, and on the weekend sings in a band. She assumed the recent hearing loss she experienced came from her weekend gigs.

"When I go into a restaurant I find it very difficult to hear my friends," she said.

But after hearing how high sound levels can be while dining out, she's a bit more cautious about her noise exposure everywhere. "When I go out to dinner, it's going to be a places where I know I'm going to have a much more pleasant experience," she said.

Experts say one night of dining won't ruin your hearing, but it's all about exposure over time.

"Repeated chronic exposure to noise, even if they're at safer levels, has increased the risk of permanent hearing loss," said Wigand.
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