Today's News / Environmental and Occupational Health

TODAY Show highlights restaurant noise dangers

December 7, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

restaurantAn NBC TODAY Show segment that aired yesterday exposed the dangers of excessive noise levels that occur in many restaurants – and illustrate the need for trained professionals to do testing, according to the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

High noise levels in restaurants can not only make conversation difficult; they can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). TODAY Show reporter Mike Taibbi told viewers that the sound levels in some restaurants reach 90 decibels and above—the equivalent of the noise from a power lawnmower or a newspaper press.

The segment did not specifically address the effects of such high noise levels on restaurant workers, who are exposed for a much greater time period than diners. Such noise “adds to workers’ cumulative dose,” according to John Ratliff, CIH, CSP, MSPH, the past chair of AIHA’s Noise Committee. “If we do dosimetry testing during the day when people are at work, we assume that workers are resting their ears at night. We know that’s not true.”

“What stuck out to me about the segment is that we are allowing so much noise into our world that we’re getting exposures both on and off the job,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff said that some of the efforts to control noise discussed on the TODAY Show segment, such as sound-dampening walls and tablecloths, can significantly lower noise in restaurants. “These measures need to be well planned and evaluated after installation to ensure they are actually reducing noise levels,” Ratliff said.

Many professionals who perform sound level measurements for noise can be found in AIHA’s Consultants Listing, the leading directory of industrial hygiene and other occupational and environmental health and safety consultants. The Consultants Listing is available in print or online at

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine


2014 October

This issue features articles about PPE safety and OSHA standards

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE


Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.