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SEE HEAR - Wednesday 23rd September, 1pm BBC TWO

SH Line Producer | 11:03 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

In this week's programme See Hear is going undercover!

We're investigating the poor acoustics in some of Britain's most popular restaurant chains. The latest fashion for minimalist interior design, open kitches, canteen-style tables and hard surfaces makes for a seriously stressful experience for many people with hearing impairment.

Louise Simmonds, a Hard of Hearing lady, has had many nights out spoiled by loud and echoey surroundings. She decided enough was enough, and accompanied by audiologist Mark Scutchings they set out to measure how bad the problem really is.

Using secret cameras and concealed noise monitors, Louise and Mark consumed a lot of pizza and noodles to bring us their findings. The proof of the pudding was in the results, so join us on Wednesday as we visit some of Britain's noisiest restaurant chains, and find out what they intend to do about it...


  • Comment number 1.

    That's great news to know that See Hear is going undercover! I've been wondering the best method to bring attention about the noise. It's not just restaurants that can be noisy - it's pubs too - they're worse!

    For example my husband who suffers from balance and dizziness problems (brought on by flu virus in 2008) and I went to a pub called The Slug and Lettuce in Bath for a friend's 40th birthday get together. The friend's party was nightmare to hear! It was so loud I'm not surprise that the country is suffering from hearing problems, tinnitus, balance and diziness etc. brought on by loud noise in pubs. It was so squashy! The next day my husband's dizziness was very bad and had tinnitus! Luckily the tinnitus wore off by the end of the day.

    It's a shame that a lot of deaf meet in noisy pubs but then it means partners who are hearing lose out because they can't hear what is going on and I'm sure the lights are not that good in seeing what you are saying - lipreading and/or signing is impossible at times, let alone trying to hear what each person is saying because of the music levels!!

    We don't go to places like that anymore - it's so sad. However when my husband and I go out to a restaurant we always go to a quiet one and it is fantastic because my hubby's dizziness is not too bad then and that we're able to relax and hear each other (I'm a bilateral cochlear implant user).

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations to the See Hear team for revealing facts about noise in restaurants; well done.

    In addition to total hearing loss in one ear I have constant tinnitus in both ears and hyperacussis (oversensitivity to sound) in my hearing ear so the majority of social functions and venues are difficult, tiring and unpleasant for me. I often refuse invitations or only stay for a very short time. I would like to see "quiet" spaces created in pubs and restaurants (like the old smoking areas) where music is not played and acoustic design provides a peaceful area for those with hearing problems.

    I think it would also be interesting to monitor sound levels in some shops where music is played very loudly.

    I wonder what hearing problems younger people will have in the future being exposed to so much constant noise?

  • Comment number 3.

    I am a chef in pizza express in the north west area and i know very well of the noise issue.It is not just the customers but we also who can happen to suffer from this problem!
    It appears clearly in the programme though that pizza express direction does not seem to bother very much!
    I personally would not go out on a meal in such noisy environment.
    I need to precise that i don't have any specific hearing problems.


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