What Tastes Best May Not Be Good for Your Ears

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Hearing and Noisy Restaurants

Consider what is best for your ears as well as your taste buds when eating out, says a Purdue University audiologist.

Some restaurants are so noisy that customers' and employees' hearing can be affected over time, and loud restaurants can become impossible places for people with hearing loss to visit with friends and families, says Robert Novak, a clinical professor of audiology.

"There are roughly 25-plus million people with significant hearing loss, and that number is on the increase with the aging of the baby boomer population," Novak says. "Eating out may be one of the few opportunities older people have to socialize with others, and I am concerned that some of these noisy environments will keep people away from the important relationships in their lives.

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"The restaurant industry should make sound a priority when considering its patrons and employees."

Novak, who also is interim head of Purdue's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, says customers should keep a list of restaurants that are quiet and make it a point to patronize these establishments.

"And don't be afraid to ask them to turn down the music," he says.

Restaurants and bars with very high noise levels

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