Get the scoop on the sound level before you make a reservation.

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Ever made it to that trendy new restaurant only to realize you can’t hear what anyone’s saying at your table? Resorting to botched sign language or just nodding with a blank I-wonder-if-they-realize-I-can’t-understand-them smile on your face can spoil even the most delicious meal. Don’t get us wrong. We love a good dose of atmosphere. But nine times out of ten we actually want to know what the people we decided to spend the evening with are saying.

This is especially true when dining with a loved one who is hard of hearing, as was the case when I took my 93-year-old grandmother out for a nice dinner a few weeks back. You forget how loud everyday places are until you’re conversing with someone in her golden years. That’s where SoundPrint comes in.

The app arms diners, readers, and everyday quiet-lovers with a decibel reader and ranking system. Using the app, you can submit live noise level readings from any venue near you, from bars and restaurants to gyms and libraries. It will add your measurment to the venue’s average. When you’re on the hunt for a quiet spot, search by venue type to see where folks in your vicinity have submitted readings. Finally, you’ll know exactly what sound level you’re signing up for before you make a reservation.

I first heard of this crowdsourced noise review app from a friend in passing. She uses it to find quiet spaces beyond the restaurant scene, scouting out noise-free cafes or quiet public parks to read. And who can blame her. One look on app’s rating system, and you’ll be alarmed by how many spaces in your neighborhood are anything but conversation-friendly.

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Keep in mind, though, that the app needs you to play your part. If only a few people in your area have submitted readings, you may not see as much information as you’d hoped. The solution? Get to measuring. It’s as simple as pressing a button, and it could help those in need of quiet restaurants and spaces find their new conversation havens. 

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