Why are restaurants louder than ever?

Why are restaurants, bars, and clubs so loud? I often return from a dinner party with a sore throat from having to shout all night just to converse with other people. It wasn't always this way. Julia Belluz, writing for Vox, blames loud restaurants on five things:

  1. Restaurateurs think loud music gives their restaurants a sense of "vibrancy and energy."
  2. It costs a lot of money to engineer good acoustics into a restaurant. "Simply sound-paneling a big ceiling can cost upward of $50,000."
  3. Restaurant design has moved away from soft, sound absorbing interiors, and towards open, concrete boxes. "And as these sound-absorbing elements went out of style, many restaurants introduced open-concept dining, with open kitchens or attached bar scenes, that helped turn up the volume."
  4. Restaurants are moving into buildings that were designed for other purposes. Churches, designed for one person to be heard by many, are especially ill-suited as restaurants.
  5. "Americans are loud." Anyone who has spent time in other countries knows this to be true.

Image: By Aaron Amat/Shutterstock