Behind the Scenes with HASA's Newest Partner: Soundprint - Hearing and Speech Agency

Behind the Scenes with HASA's Newest Partner: Soundprint

In the early months of 2018, we launched our Hearing Hospitality Initiative, a training program for restaurant staff to create more inclusive environments for their guests who are hard of hearing. While visiting several of Baltimore's best restaurants, we learned a lot. The wonderful news is that customer service was important to each and every restaurant we visited and restaurant teams were eager to try out their new communication strategies with customers. Local news venues picked up on the story and many local residents contacted us for more information. It was then that we realized that diners were looking for a way to identify places that were more conducive to conversation. Those diners may be hard of hearing, but they may also be looking for a sensory-friendly place or just a quiet spot for conversation.

Thanks to a partnership with Soundprint, a New York-based project calling itself "Yelp for Noise" and the work of many volunteers, we've begun to map Baltimore's restaurants by noise level. Soundprint founder Gregory Scott created the app in response to his own frustration in finding spaces in which he, who is hard of hearing, could have a conversation.  

"I recall many times sitting at a restaurant table feeling completely lost in the conversation while others conversed and connected with each other. I would often nod my head in unison with the conversation, pretending to hear my companions when I could not, and then idly pass the time by entertaining myself with whatever fiction entered my head." - Gregory Scott, Founder of Soundprint

It seems the perfect time to launch our list, right at the beginning of Better Hearing and Speech Month. Our preliminary findings were curated using several hundred SoundPrint data captures taken during peak restaurant hours, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday. Generally, Baltimore restaurants have moderate (71-75 dBA) noise-level until 8:00 p.m. when it transitions into loud (76-80 dBA), based on average dBA. Initial data indicates Baltimore may be one of the most noise-friendly restaurant cities, but more robust data is needed to verify. 

The Data

Decibel Guidelines 

  • Quiet = 70 dBA or below (safe for hearing health, conducive to conversation)
  • Moderate = 71 – 75 dBA (safe for hearing health, manageable for conversation)
  • Loud = 76 – 80 dBA (likely safe for hearing health, conversation is difficult)
  • Very Loud = 81+ dBA (unsafe for hearing health, conversation is very difficult)

Quietest Neighborhood: Little Italy (Quiet, avg. 63 dBA)
Loudest Neighborhood: South Baltimore – Riverside/Fed Hill/Locust Point (Very Loud, avg. 81 dBA)

The Quiet List 

  • Ban Thai Restaurant (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)
  • Dalesio's (Little Italy)
  • Himalayan Bistro (South Baltimore)
  • Kiku Sushi (South Baltimore)
  • Da Mimmo (Little Italy)
  • Lumbini Restaurant (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)
  • La Tavola (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)
  • Ikaros (Greektown)
  • Charleston Restaurant (Fells Point)
  • Dooby’s (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)

The Loud List

  • R. House (Hampden)
  • Holy Frijoles (Hampden)
  • Homeslyce (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)
  • Rye Street Tavern (South Baltimore)
  • Mick O'Shea's (N. Charles/Mt. Vernon)
  • Alexander's Tavern (Fells Point)
  • Papi's Tacos (Fells Point)
  • Clavel (Hampden)
  • The Brewer's Art (N. Charles/Mt Vernon)
  • The Boathouse Canton Waterfront Grill (Canton)







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