Anti-noise group Pipedown, which calls for “freedom from piped music” has joined up with charity Action on Hearing Loss to ask restaurants, cafes and pubs to turn the music down.
Restaurants will be urged to stop playing music entirely while pubs will be asked to include more soft fabrics and materials to help soften sounds.
Speaking to The Times newspaper Gorki Duhra, from Action on Hearing Loss, said “For some people, it can be irritating. But when it leads to you getting the wrong order or not being able to have a conversation and you’re missing the main bit of the joke because you just can’t hear it, you feel left out. Background music makes it harder to pick up a particular voice. We would ask restaurants not to play any.”
This latest appeal follows a call in April by a lipreading charity who called on restaurants to take a “more considerate” approach to the 10 million people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA) has made the call as part of its Lipreading Awareness Week (12-19 September 2016) and is asking restaurants to choose a day to invite their customers to ‘come and enjoy their taste in food, not their taste in music’.
Molly Berry, ATLA’s vice chair, said: “The silver pound is very important to restauranteurs and Lipreading Awareness Week is a good time to ask yourself if your restaurant is welcoming this business. Getting this right could earn your business a lot of money, with nearly half of people aged 65-plus having some form of hearing loss.
“Many hard of hearing people avoid going to restaurants because it’s just too difficult for them to follow conversations and pick out the sounds they want to hear. But minimum investment can fix this and make a restaurant a much more pleasant environment for everyone to hear each other and hold conversations in, not just the hard of hearing.