LIVE TO EAT: “Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back.”

Decibels. Like a rock concert.

This article is far too detailed to summarize, so go over to Vox and absorb the whole of it. Design, intent and social trends help to explain the phenomenon of noise, but as someone who has traveled often overseas, #5 is both spot on and eternal. Jeeebus, we’re loud.

Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back, by Julia Belluz (Vox)

 … In reckoning with this underappreciated health threat, I’ve been wondering how we got here and why any well-meaning restaurateur would inflict this pain on his or her patrons and staff. I learned that there are a number of reasons — and they mostly have to do with restaurant design trends. In exposing them, I hope restaurateurs will take note: You may be deafening your staff and patrons. I also hope restaurant patrons will start, er, raising their voices about this, or voting with their feet.

1) “No one wants to walk into a mausoleum”
2) Good acoustics are expensive
3) A shift in restaurant aesthetics has had a huge impact on our ears
4) Some spaces — like former churches — will always be noisy when filled with people
5) Americans are loud