New app to rate noise levels in restaurants

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A new app, called SoundPrint, has been developed to help people record sound levels at restaurants and to enable users to find a quiet restaurant by comparing sound levels.

Vox, a leading news commentary website, recently interviewed the app’s creator, Greg Scott, to find out more about the app. Its main purpose is to help people who are having trouble finding a quiet place to eat or drink with friends, family, or business contacts. According to consumer research, noise in restaurants is one of the biggest problems people complain about, even above issues involving the food itself or service.

SoundPrint runs off citizen science: the app has a decibel reader so that its noise reviews are generated by app users who can submit their noise recordings. Most venues registered on the app have volumes that are not conversation-friendly, the article reports. There may be some selection bias because people may be unlikely to record a quiet place.

Senior health correspondent at Vox, Julia Belluz, spoke to Greg Scott about hearing loss, background noise, and what prompted him to create the app. Scott explains, “I live in New York City, and I wanted to be able to hear my dates, to connect with them. I would go to Google and Yelp and search for “quiet” in the user comments. I had a list of places, 10 to 20. But most of the time, these places would not be quiet at all. So I started taking out a decibel meter because I wanted to see how loud [these venues] were.”

Building on this, Scott found that noise levels were often far too high, not conducive to conversation. He therefore decided that it could be very useful to have an app starting with a decibel meter and make it crowd-sourceable, so that people can share their findings, like in regular restaurant reviews.

Source: Vox; AppStore

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