NASHVILLE, Tenn. - If you think restaurants are getting noisier, you'd be right. Nashville just topped the charts for "loudest dining scene."
"I was a little surprised that Nashville was number one out of 10 large cities, but the more we think about it, it is Music City," said Elizabeth Welch, Doctor of Audiology at Hearing Services of Franklin.
According to a recent study by Oticon, Nashville topped the chart, averaging more than 82-decibels.
"An average conversational speech is going to occur around 60-decibels. A jet engine is going to be at 120. Nashville, some of the restaurants, they had peaks at 130," she said.
There's even a term for this called the "restaurant dilemma," the tricky business of balancing noise levels.
So why the noise increase? She says new design elements are partially to blame, with new buildings favoring hard surfaces and high ceilings.
"Unfortunately that open kitchen and hard surfaces, there's not a lot to absorb the sound," she said.
She says getting a hearing check is a good idea. Go out to eat earlier to beat the crowds, or find a quiet corner.
Here's how the cities ranked in order of average sound levels within popular restaurants:
1. Nashville 82.19 db
2. Portland 81.92 db
3. Washington, D.C. 80.44 db
4. Denver 80.32 db
5. San Diego 79.23 db
6. Chicago 78.94 db
7. Detroit 78.45 db
8. St. Louis 78.14 db
9. Seattle 76.51 db
10. Austin 75.60 db