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This online community is raising awareness about deafening noise levels in public places

noise levels in public places

Have you ever thought about noise levels when out and about? Or have you ever had to leave somewhere because it was too loud?
That’s why the Decibel Squad was set up! Action on Hearing Loss, a British Charity campaigning for various causes including their recent campaign, forming an online community; Decibel Squad.

The need for a Decibel Squad

The Decibel Squad is an online community created after having a successful campaign called SpeakEasy. SpeakEasy was focused on gathering data and reports to give recommendations to restaurants, cafes, and pubs on how to create a more quiet atmosphere.
 
The Decibel Squad was also created because Action On Hearing Loss wanted to continue to create spaces where people can give their tips on quiet places to go, share their experiences and noise ratings of different restaurants, and encourage each other in their campaigning endeavors against noisy restaurants. Simon Robb, PR officer for Action On Hearing Loss, explains the consequences of loud noise in public venues.
 
“Some people may even avoid a venue altogether or leave early if it’s simply too loud,” he says. “It’s always good to let the venue know when you’re doing this so that they know they’re losing customers and need to improve.”
 
Simon also mentions the Decibel Squad is not only to report loud venues but also quiet venues as well. 
 
“If you come across a quiet spot it’s always great to share this with the group too so we can celebrate those places that are accessible,” says Simon. “The quieter the better and equal access to public places is important. People should not be denied the simple pleasure of going out for a meal with friends and family just because they have hearing loss.”

How to join the squad

You can become a part of the Decibel Squad online community by joining the Facebook group or post on Twitter using the hashtag #DecibelSquad and online review sites like TripAdvisor.
 
The community’s aim is to raise awareness of the issue of noisy restaurants, cafes, and bars. Also, at noisy tube stations, gyms and any other excessively loud places.
 
In order to join all you have to do is; download a decibel reading app like Decibel X (this is the best for both iPhones and Androids
 
You can use this app to record the noise level of the venue you are in. Once you have the record you can report it to the rest of the Decibel Squad community. Simon explains further about how to be active in the Decibel Squad.
 
 “We recommend when you go to a restaurant, bar or café – this could be a regular haunt of yours or somewhere you’ve never been before,” he says. “Once you have your reading, if it exceeds 85db then many of our followers will post the results on social media tagging the venue, which is a great way to engage big chains.”
 
The noise level of the place you are in can determine whether or not people need to use hearing protection or politely request the management to turn down the background music. If it is a quiet noise level, it is important to note that this would be a great place for deaf and hard of hearing people to get together.
 
 
noise levels in public places

The importance of creating quieter spaces

Not only is it important to create quiet public spaces for people with hearing loss, it is also important for protecting your hearing from noise damage. Noise-induced hearing loss is quite a common form of hearing loss.
 
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, exposure to loud noises for long periods of time could potentially result in permanent hearing damage. If the sound reaches over 85DB, there is a risk of damaging your hearing and you should shorten the time you are exposed to the loud noise.
 
Examples of scenarios where sound may reach this are; some restaurants, underground Tube stations, nightclubs, on airplanes and so on. 
 
 
There are musicians who suffer from Noise Induced Hearing Loss, being exposed to loud noises throughout their musical careers. Eric Clapton and Roger Daltrey are two musicians to recently open up about their hearing loss.
 
Although there is hearing protection such as earbuds or noise-canceling headphones, the Decibel Squad takes a step further to stop loud noises in common places for social gatherings.  
 
Share your experience with noise in public spaces using the hashtag #DecibelSquad!
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Ellie Parfitt
Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn't prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, working as a Marketing Executive for a Spa & Health Club, Events and Promotions Staff for a local newspaper as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.

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