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Noise Can Put You Off Your Food, Study Shows

Soft music can improve dining experience: study

by Flinders University
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Flinders University PhD candidate Mahmoud Alamir, from the College of Science and Engineering.
Flinders University

Noise can make or break a dining experience, according to a laboratory study replicating common noise levels in restaurants.

The acoustic experts say the study proves that high noise levels can play a major part in a dining experience—along with the quality of the food and restaurant service.

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"Our study not only shows that relaxing music at low noise levels increases food enjoyment but indicates that even 'normal' background noise levels in restaurants can be unpleasant to diners," says lead author, Flinders University PhD candidate Mahmoud Alamir.

"We do not always recognize the cumulative effect of noise to our stress or annoyance levels, but we see how every one of us has sensitivity to noise in different ways."

Related Article: The Sounds of Eating May Reduce How Much You Eat

The study considered factors such as age, gender, and noise sensitivity to background noise.

Accordingly, noise-sensitive people, as well as older people and females, reported lower enjoyment of food when there is elevated background noise.

Flinders University acoustic engineer and study co-author Dr. Kristy Hansen says the results highlight the importance of noise management strategies in restaurants to provide better dining experiences.

"This could include more practical acoustic design of dining areas to suit different groups of people," she says. "Quiet dining areas should be considered for older and noise-sensitive people."

The international research group plans to release more information and guidelines on 'healthy' noise levels.

- This press release was originally published on the Flinders University website