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Rena Sarigianopoulos
February 19, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS - Have you been to a restaurant lately that was so loud you couldn't have a conversation? If it made you feel old, we've got some good news for you. That energetic environment is actually the new trend in dining out.

Does that mean you're never going to be able to enjoy a quiet meal? Not at all.

"The further you get from the energy sources - the bar over there, the cooking over there - you have that zone for people who want to go out for a nice quiet evening," says David Shea with Shea Design.

David is an expert in designing restaurants and is the man behind many of the high-profile eateries in town. He says research shows people want to eat in a place that feels energized but most restaurants are now designed with all kinds of customers in mind. He took us through two of his latest projects to show us exactly what he means. We toured Marin downtown and Spoon and Stable in the North Loop.

Marin has three very distinct zones. The dining area of the restaurant uses a lot of upholstery, banquets and curtains to absorb sound. There is even one whole wall covered in leather to help dampen sound. They actually found it to be too quiet and added a pizza oven to give the upstairs a little white noise. The bar area, however, has plenty of wood to give sound just a little more bounce and the library bar in the cellar has an even different vibe.

Read more  . . . Loud restaurants




Washington Post
 Fit editor, Express
February 17

During her first workout at Orangetheory Fitness in Fairfax, Donna Reid was blown away by two things: “how hard it was and how loud it was.” The 51-year-old adored the studio’s interval training program — a mix of treadmill, rowing machine and resistance exercises — but when it came to the accompanying music assaulting her eardrums, well, that didn’t seem so sound.

“I want to do something good for my body. I don’t want to do something detrimental at the same time,” says Reid, who asked the trainer to turn down the volume. She got her wish for a few minutes. But when it soon crept up again, Reid knew she’d need a different tactic.

She’s settled on earplugs, which she brings without fail to her five Orangetheory sessions each week. A couple of classmates have commended this strategy, although they haven’t followed her lead. As for the rest?

“When it’s a song they like, they’ll yell out to the trainer to crank it up. I think they’re crazy,” Reid says.

Read  . . . Gym Music




The Daily - University of Washington
By Chris Kaperak
January 21, 2015


CenturyLink Field erupted with ear-splitting cheers, jumping, and wild celebrations Sunday after the Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers, earning them a spot in Superbowl XLIX. Fans left the game with their ears ringing, a souvenir of the crowd’s roar. Meanwhile, UW researchers watched as their monitors showed evidence of yet another quake generated by the 12th Man.

Marshawn Lynch’s run in 2011, Kam Chancellor’s interception return against Carolina, and an improbable victory over the Packers, all resulted in small earthquakes, detected by standard earthquake sensors. 

Before the Seahawks’ game against the Panthers on Jan. 10, sensors were placed in three locations in CenturyLink Field. The sensors fed data to an online application called “QuickShake,” which displays seismic activity in real time to the public as measured by sensors operated by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN).

The team of researchers from the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, led by Emeritus Research Professor Steve Malone and Professor John Vidale, became interested in monitoring CenturyLink for seismic activity after the aforementioned Lynch run.

“You can’t predict earthquakes, but you can predict when Seahawks fans will jump up and down,” Malone said.  . . . . . . . . READ More >>

Stadium noise dangerous to fans 

As previously mentioned, Seahawk fans are notorious for the incredible sound waves they can generate. While a cause of pride for many, the intense sound produced during a Seahawks’ home game concerns Kelly Tremblay, a professor of speech and hearing sciences at the UW.

A normal range for stadium noise is about 95-110 decibels, or similar to being near a gas mower up to being at a rock concert, neither of which are safe to be exposed to for the length of a football game. Recently, the Seahawks’ fans reclaimed the stadium noise record at a eardrum-pounding 137.6 decibels, louder than standing near a military jet taking-off.

This is loud enough to immediately cause permanent ear damage and hearing loss, along with tinnitus, or that ringing sound heard after a loud noise.  . . . . . . . . READ More >>

Name (Age): Margie Adams (53)
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Connection to your Teammate: Mother
Current Occupation: RN, BSN, Clinical Research Associate
Previous Season/Result: Season 14/3rd placeBiggest mistake you made in your previous season: Not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated in Thailand. I fainted.Most memorable moment from your first Race: Finishing in first place for the first leg of the Race.

Favorite place you visited on your first season: Thailand, it was number one on my wish list for Season 14 so getting to go to both Bangkok and Phuket was fantastic.

Why do you want to run the Race again? It was one of the most exciting and best experiences of my life. I am looking forward to all the new places we will go.

How have you changed since the last time you competed? I am more confident and more willing to try new things.

What are you passionate about? People being kind and accepting of each other

People would be surprised to learn: Nothing, I'm pretty boring.

One location that you hope to go on this adventure: Ireland, my grandparents are from there and I would love to see the country.

Biggest challenge you and your teammate will face on the Race together: Some of the challenges require you to be able to listen/hear/sign and when those challenges come up we have to pick the other challenge since Luke is completely deaf. He cannot hear or use oral language.

What do you hope to accomplish by running the Race again (other than winning one million dollars): Getting to spend time one-on-one with Luke

Pet peeve about your teammate: He is a very loud eater.

What would you do if you won the million dollars? Retire a few years earlier than planned.

Any strategic changes you will make heading into this Race: We need to be more careful about reading the clues.


Name (Age): Luke Adams (25)
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Connection to your Teammate: Son
Current Occupation: Motivational Speaker
Previous Season/Result: Season 14/3rd place

Biggest mistake you made in your previous season: My biggest mistake was not being able to figure out what the last surfboard was during the final challenge!

Most memorable moment from your first Race: The hilarious cheese hill task and the underwear marathon.

Favorite place you visited on your first season: Thailand because the country and culture are just so beautiful. I would love to go there again someday.

Why do you want to run the Race again? To win The Amazing Race! I want to make up for my big blunder in the final leg of the last race.

How have you changed since the last time you competed? I stop more when I am traveling now to enjoy the scenery. I try not to rush things.

What are you passionate about? Travel, my family and friends.

People would be surprised to learn: I'm afraid of flying. I always have to suck it up whenever I'm on planes.

One location that you hope to go on this adventure: Ireland, because it would be awesome to see where my family came from.

Biggest challenge you and your teammate will face on the Race together: Being sleep deprived!

What do you hope to accomplish by running the Race again (other than winning one million dollars): It would be cool if we could visit five continents, avoid being u-turned and be the first team to make it to the final three twice!

Pet peeve about your teammate: Nothing -- she is an awesome teammate and mom!

What would you do if you won the million dollars? Invest.

Any strategic changes you will make heading into this Race: I don't think I will change anything since our strategy from last time worked well. Hopefully it will bring us to the final three again and we can win this time!



We are excited to have so many participants sharing their experiences.  Because of the large amount of information, we have changed our format and put the results in a PDF spread sheet. 


Conversation Impossible


Do you enjoy checking out new neighborhood restaurants? Are you a person who can’t wait to visit a restaurant that got a good review to learn whether its cuisine really is the best?

You eagerly make your reservation and arrive full of anticipation, mouth watering as you read the tempting menu…but then, like many of us with a hearing loss, find having a conversation almost impossible.

Yes, the food is great, the atmosphere is lovely, your dinner companion is delightful, but it takes herculean effort to speech read. 

Only through sheer concentration do you catch the drift of the conversation and you leave exhausted and frustrated. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema’s restaurant reviews give information about the decibel level. This is useful information, but more specifics would be helpful for those of us who contend with hearing loss. For instance, how busy and how loud does it get at lunch time? Are there good sound absorbing materials on the walls and floors? Is a booth available that gives better acoustics or an area in the restaurant that is quieter?

Although we can’t change the restaurant environment, it would be helpful to know what to expect once we get there.

This is where we need your help, and your opinion matters!

Share with us your experience by clicking on the link below or the Restaurant Survey button on our home page. Answer five short questions and then rate the restaurant racket!

NVRC will compile the reviews and make them available through our website, so be sure to check back often.

Mission Accomplished?
Finished dining and ready to
fill out the survey?

two spies

Click here to link to the Survey

Click here for Survey Updates

For restaurant communication tips, check the NVRC fact sheet:

RestaurantStrategies 5-08

Restaurant Noise
Restaurant Acoustics
Noise in Restaurants: Consumers Sound Off