Lend an Ear Introduces Certification Program for Ear-Friendly Restaurants

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San Francisco-based Mozzeria first retail establishment to receive ear-friendly certification

Lend an Ear, a Seattle-based organization that is committed to creating an ear-friendly world one community at a time, today announced the launch of its new ear-friendly certification program, aimed at helping consumers better select establishments to frequent based on noise levels.

The launch coincides with the announcement that San Francisco-based Mozzeria, a pizzeria whose owners Melody and Russ Stein are deaf, is the first establishment to be recognized with the ear-friendly certification.

As part of the certification process, restaurants and other public spaces can be certified based on their willingness to adhere to ear-friendly practices which can be a willingness to turn down ambient music, reseating guests to a quiet area, or applying noise reduction materials to the facility. Once certified, the business is listed in a national database and displays an “ear-friendly” placard in the place of business. The purpose of certification is to help individuals seeking locations with noise levels that suit their needs.

“We are thrilled to announce Mozzeria as the first establishment to be certified as ear-friendly and are looking forward to offering more restaurants and establishments the ability to achieve this certification,” said Dr. Kelly Tremblay, founder and CEO of Lend an Ear. “Noise in restaurants is a huge a challenge for so many people, as noise level impacts the customer experience.”

To be certified as ear friendly, restaurants must offer one or more of the following:
1) Have staff and/or management willing to turn down music volume upon request, look at patrons while speaking, and/or offer private rooms or tables away from noise sources.
2) Have been identified by Lend an Ear’s iHEARu app users as ear-friendly and displays signage. The iHEARu app is Lend an Ear’s conduit for noise data collection.
3) Offer an environment in which noise reduction efforts such as acoustical tiles, sound isolation, table placements, use of absorbent materials, are in place.

iHEARu app conduit for noise data collection
The recently launched iHEARu mobile app collects noise decibel data. The app was founded by renowned neuroscientist, audiologist, and advocate Dr. Kelly Tremblay. The iHEARu mobile app uses crowd-sourcing to help individuals find locations with noise levels that suit your needs. Whether seeking a quiet eatery or lively bar with loud music, the iHEARu GPS will help you find it. By combining decibel data gathered from smartphone users in real-life environments, iHEARu provides the data to change the world…one ear-friendly place at a time.

Why create an ear-friendly movement?
Creating an ear-friendly environment is not only good for people; it can be good for business. According to a 2015 Zagat Survey, 24 percent of respondents said noise was their number one complaint when dining out. In fact, noise level has become such a growing concern that it is now included by restaurant critics as part of their restaurant coverage report.
Additionally:

  • Over 20% of the U.S. population (48M) have some hearing loss
  • Approximately 1 in 3 people older than 65 have disabling hearing loss.
  • According to a 2010 census, this means that over 13.6% of San Francisco’s population is suffering with disabling hearing loss!
  • With over 17M visitors to the San Francisco area, that means over 3.5M will come to the city as hearing-challenged visitors.

The iHEARu app can be downloaded for FREE via the App Store or Google Play.

About Lend an Ear
Lend an Ear™ is a Seattle-based organization committed to creating an ear-friendly world, one community at a time. Founded by Dr. Kelly Tremblay, M.Sc. Ph.D, Lend an Ear provides access to the tools and resources individuals need to live an active and meaningful life, and communication and consultating services to businesses seeking to implement an ear-friendly environment.

For more information about Lend an Ear, visit http://www.lendanear.co; or visit http://www.ihearu.co for information about the mobile app.

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Marie Gill