Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Date of this Version



Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 31, 040003 (2017)


© 2018 Acoustical Society of America. https://doi.org/10.1121/2.0000674


For several decades, there has been a significant need to better educate the public about noise pollution. A small number of small-scale studies have focused on the sound levels of restaurants and their impact on health and hearing. There have also been an increasing number of media articles stating that eating and drinking venues are getting increasingly loud making it more difficult for people to connect with others in conversation. This study reports on an exploratory large-scale noise survey of sound levels of 2,376 restaurants and bars in New York City using a novel smart-phone application and categorized them based on how quiet or loud they were. The results suggest that (1) a significant number of venues have high sound levels that are not conducive to conversation and may be endangering the health of patrons and employees (2) that the reported sound levels by the venue managers on their online public business pages generally underestimated actual sound levels, and (3) the average sound levels in restaurants and bars are correlated by neighborhood and type of cuisine.