Dining Decibels2019-05-30T19:28:28+00:00

Dining Decibels™ is a resource for restaurant noise levels. Use our restaurant noise reviews to find a local restaurant where you can connect and communicate. Noise ratings are determined by ease of communication, comments (and optional noise measurements from phone apps like Decibel X). Remember that dining at different days/times will influence ease of conversation. (Not a food critique.)

Easy Conversation (60-70 decibels) = 

Difficult Conversation (71-75 decibels) = 

Raised Voices Necessary (76-80 decibels) = 

Extremely Loud (80 + decibels) = 

Share Your Dining Decibels Review

Restaurant Noise Review: Gonza Tacos y Tequila

Gonza Tacos y Tequila: Durham, NC Saturday, December 16, 6:39 PM

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 80 dB

Sound Equivalent: Loud dishwasher

Conversation: Raised voices necessary


Comments: Restaurant noise interfered with conversation.  We were unable to chat with those at our table. We were seated in a corner of a large dining area with high ceilings and loud music.  All hard surfaces plus wooden table/chairs and floors exaggerated noise levels.  This made it difficult to hear even across the table.  Dining at “peak” dining time, most of the tables were taken with the noise to prove it!  Food was delicious but recommend off-peak hours or outside dining on their patio if you want an easier time chatting!

Restaurant Noise Review: Dulce Cafe

Dulce Cafe: Durham, NC Sunday, November 12, 1:00 PM

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 65 dB

Sound Equivalent: Quiet Office

Conversation: Easy


Comments: This is a great place to go to chat with a friend or family member!   Small, casual cafe allows for EASY conversation and minimal noise interference.   Good “go to” place to catch up – with great food for lunch or dinner!

Restaurant Noise Review: Primal Food & Spirits

Primal Food & Spirits: Durham, NC, Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 7:00 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 68 dB

Sound Equivalent: Office

Conversation: Easy


Comments: This restaurant allowed us to chat easily at a large table in a reserved room.  A sliding door kept the ambient noise at bay.   Our group appreciated the separation and enjoyed catching up with minimal interference from other tables.  Great place to reserve a room for a group celebration!

Restaurant Noise Review: Shiki Sushi

Shiki Sushi: Durham, NC, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 6:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 70 dB

Sound Equivalent: Vacuum

Conversation: Easy with occasional difficulty


Comments: This restaurant allowed us to chat easily at a table for 4 even during a busy dining time.  The tables were close but did not interfere with conversation.  Enjoyable to dine and hear!  Suggest choosing your table near perimeter to keep conversation easy.  Also keep in mind the busier weekend evenings may be noisier than mid-week.

Restaurant Noise Review: Lucia

Lucia Bar Italiano: Durham, NC, Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 79 dB

Sound Equivalent: City Traffic

Conversation: Raised voices necessary


Comments: Restaurant noise interferes with conversation. Lucia’s is a delightful open area restaurant with very high ceilings and wide expanse of windows reflecting on mirrors – all of which create poor acoustics for conversation.  The open bar created additional noise that echoed throughout the dining area.  When asked for a quiet location, we were seated in a corner booth away from the bar and center tables.  Yet, even though we were in a corner booth, it was difficult to hear each other.  Frequent repetitions were necessary along with raised voices. We were there to celebrate an event, yet could not engage each other in meaningful conversation. Enjoyed the food but would recommend going at a less busy time if you desire conversation.

Restaurant Noise Review: The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory: Durham, NC, Saturday, October 3, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 78 dB

Sound Equivalent: Washing Machine

Conversation: Raised voices necessary


Comments: The restaurant was crowded and noise was bouncing around in all directions:  the open bar, patrons waiting to be seated as well as full dining tables all contributing to the noise overload. Fortunately, we were seated in a booth away from the bar and waiting area – which helped subdue the overall noise levels.  This was “peak” dining time with the noise to prove it.  Surprisingly – once we were in the booth, we were able to converse with only a few repetitions and raised voices.  The upholstered booths were able to isolate some of the noise from the open bar and waiting patrons.  Enjoyed the food, but would recommend off-peak hours if you want an easier time conversing together during dinner!

Restaurant Noise Review: Tupelo Honey Cafe

Tupelo Honey Cafe: Raleigh, NC, Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 70 dB

Sound Equivalent: Quiet Passenger Car

Conversation: Easy


Comments: Easy conversation for this dinner on weekday!  It appears that the design of this restaurant was purposeful for easy conversation.  Separating adjacent booths with wood and glass partitions and using small groupings of tables kept the intrusion of other conversations from interfering in your own.  No eavesdropping here!  Great place to linger over a good meal and enjoy conversation.

Restaurant Noise Review: JuJube

JuJube: Chapel Hill, NC Wednesday, July 8, 2015 6:30 PM

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 68 dB

Sound Equivalent: Office

Conversation: Easy



Easy to chat and catch up at JuJube, since we were not eating at a peak time. Initially, we were seated under a music speaker, which was promptly turned down making conversation much more tolerable.  Few windows, leather chairs and use of tablecloths minimized noise interference as well as being separated from the bar in another room.  As more patrons began to fill the dining area, it continued to be easy to enjoy conversation.  Great place to go to catch up and enjoy a nice meal when dining at off-peak hours.

Restaurant Noise Review: Fishmongers

Fishmongers:  Durham, NC – Tuesday, May 3, 2015, 7pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 76 dB

Sound Equivalent: Chamber Music

Conversation: Raised voices and repetitions necessary


Comments: Hard to follow our group of 4 when talking together.  The wide open restaurant area with expansive windows and high ceilings made frequent repetitions necessary – even at non-peak restaurant hours.  Hard surfaces such as wooden chairs/tables and floors caused the reverberation that interfered with our conversation.  Enjoyed the food but were frustrated with poor continuity of our conversation.

Restaurant Noise Review: Kitchen

Kitchen: Chapel Hill, NC, Tuesday, April 26, 2015, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 78dB

Sound Equivalent: Washing Machine

Conversation: Raised voices necessary


Comments: Initially, restaurant noise did not interfere.  We were able to chat easily since we arrived early at this cozy French Bistro. But as the evening progressed, there was much more restaurant noise – and much more difficulty following conversations.  Contributing to this noisy competition were the closely set tables and high ceilings that created a noisy interference with your neighbor.  I would suggest coming to this delightful restaurant at an earlier time with less interference and enjoy your dining with easier conversations!  Choose your table wisely!

Restaurant Noise Review: Gocciolina

Gocciolina: Durham, NC – Thursday, March 26, 2015, 7pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 78 dB

Sound Equivalent: Washing Machine

Conversation: Raised voices necessary


Comments: As a group of six, we found it difficult to have a conversation that included all of us.  We were seated at a large table near the food order area which we found distracting and noisy.  Lots of activity surrounding our table made it difficult to maintain a continuous conversation between us for a group celebration.  Tables were spaced close together which also contributed to the noise intrusion.  Frequent repetitions were necessary and frustrating as we wanted all to celebrate and understand each other!  Although we enjoyed the food, perhaps an earlier time would have been best to dine together and catch up.

Restaurant Noise Review: Acme Food and Beverage

Acme Food and Beverage: Carrboro, NC – Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 7 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 62 dB

Sound Equivalent: Laughter

Conversation: Easy


Comments: We found conversation to be easy and pleasant at a table for two.  We were seated near a partition which helped block out surrounding table noise. There was no intrusive music in the background. The tables were separated from the open bar and there was a separate kitchen area which kept noise to a minimum.  This restaurant had high ceilings and hard surfaces (floors, wood chairs/tables) so we were pleasantly surprised that noise did not interfere with our conversation, especially since the restaurant appeared to be at capacity on St. Patrick’s Day!  Good place to go to catch up and enjoy a nice meal!

Restaurant Noise Review: Melting Pot

Melting Pot: Durham, NC – Saturday, January 3, 2015, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 70 dB

Sound Equivalent: Quiet Passenger Car

Conversation: Easy


Comments: Easy conversation was a treat for the entire dining experience!  The restaurant noise was low because it incorporates the elements necessary for good acoustics while dining.  We were seated in an upholstered dining booth with high backs that created necessary barriers to nearby conversations.  Other positives:  no loud background music to intrude in conversations; adequate spacing between other diners with separate bar and kitchen areas that made this a pleasant experience for all!   The Melting Pot is on our list for those who wish to connect and enjoy conversations without need for repetitions!

Restaurant Noise Review: Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill: Durham, NC – Thursday, January 15, 2015, 6:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 75 dB

Sound Equivalent: Dishwasher

Conversation: Occasionally Difficult


Comments: We found conversation to be pleasant with occasional difficulty.  The absence of loud background music was a plus as we were seated in a booth which offset the overall restaurant noise interference to a minimum.  Being near the entrance resulted in more activity and restaurant noise but we were able to follow our conversation without too many repetitions because we were in a booth. The separation of the bar and kitchen areas from the dining area kept the restaurant noise interference to a minimum.  We enjoyed the food and found Bonefish Grill to be a place to enjoy a nice meal and conversation if you are selective in your seating.

Restaurant Noise Review: Bennett Pointe Grill

Bennett Pointe Grille: Durham, NC, Sunday, December 9, 2014 – 7pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Rating: 73 dB

Sound Equivalent: Living Room Television

Conversation: Occasionally Difficult


Comments: We enjoyed the food, but conversation was occasionally difficult and required some repetitions for continuity.  We were seated at a table in the middle of the dining area that contained hard floors with no upholstery or soft coverings to absorb the sound.  Booths were present around the perimeter which may help reduce the noise but did not have seat cushions to absorb the noise.  Separate kitchen and bar areas helped control the noise interference.  A notable feature was the absence of loud background music – which helped reduce the overall noise interference. This restaurant can be a place to enjoy a meal and conversation if you choose a booth and do not sit in the center of the dining area.



“I contacted Anita Carroll because I knew little about hearing aids and wanted professional guidance with my decisions. After two months with Dr. Carroll I know that I made the right decision. Dr. Carroll has been patient teaching me what I needed to know to get the maximun benefit from my new hearing aids.”


Anita loves her work and it shows!
“Anita loves her work and it shows. She will do everything possible to determine the proper hearing aid needed. She will fit it perfectly! She is always helpful and capable. Anita — I thank God for you!”


Lost without my hearing aid
“At age 48, I received my first hearing aids. Twenty-three years later, Anita Carroll is still my audiologist. From the start, my adjustment was easy thanks to Anita’s highly personalized service – and her beautiful laugh makes any day better. Recently, I lost my hearing aid while voting. Until I could buy a new one, I decided to tough it out without a loaner, even though my hearing in that ear is minimal. Then one morning Anita called me: “someone at the voting precinct has found your aid.” I left that minute and drove 20 miles to the county seat. Sitting in the parking lot, I put the aid back into my ear and gorgeous stereophonic sound flooded my happy ears. That brought home just how shrunken my life had become during those weeks of muffled sound and misunderstandings. Timers on the stove: unnoticed. A beautiful solo at church: unheard. My granddaughter’s happy little face: puzzled. How did my aid get back to me? A savvy county employee checked the serial number and that led her to Anita Carroll’s office. I owe so much: to that kind worker, and to Anita.”


I am so pleased with your thorough analysis of my hearing problem. You prescribed exactly the type of hearing device I needed. Your training and follow up visits have been very helpful. Now I rarely need to ask anyone to repeat their comments. When in a crowded restaurant or in church, I am much more confident and comfortable. Thank you so much for your competent and professional services.


Thank you for all of your help with my mother. She really liked you and had a high regard for you. Your help with my mother made her last years a whole lot better because she was able to hear!


A Very Satisfied Musician
“From start to finish, I was very pleased with the service I received from Anita Carroll. I record and perform rock music in clubs on the east coast and I’ve regrettably neglected the best hearing protection. I visited Anita and she took custom moldings and turned them into Sensaphonic earplugs. They fit perfectly. I can now hear everything I need to–at a safe volume–without damaging my ears.”


My hearing aids have truly been a blessing
“I can’t thank you enough for the caring service which you have given me over the years. My hearing aids have truly been a blessing — I can now enjoy theatre, music, and dinners out with a crowd.”


Every musician should get a hearing test
“I began to experience the first signs of tinnitus a few months ago and decided that it was time to see an audiologist. I’ve been playing music since elementary school and started playing in loud rock bands in High School. I looked around for a good audiologist and found Anita Carroll. She was a very good and professional audiologist. I got an appointment in a reasonable time. She recommended that I invest in some musicians earplugs which I did. She was able to take ear-molds at my initial appointment. I received my new ear plugs in just a few weeks. Overall I am very happy with the whole experience and I really enjoy my new ear plugs (it’s really amazing what a difference they make!)”


Great Service!
“My hearing aid was stopped up and not working so I called to see if she could fix it. She got me in right away and knew what to do. She replaced some parts and cleaned it up and it was ready to go -and I could hear my family I had come to visit. Nice place and friendly service. Will come back for more,”


Hearing aids for a retired person
“My experience was all good. The tests to evaluate my hearing loss, which is mild to severe, were thorough and the aids have been all I could want. I was amazed at how much I had been missing. It is really pleasurable to attend meetings of my knit and crochet group because I hear all the conversations, and can participate in discussions. When I go to my workout circuit training, again I hear all that goes on. In cars, it is so good to hear without straining, or asking to have something repeated. Now, I feel that I can speak up if i miss a word, because the other person was not enunciating clearly, and they apologize! I think I am becoming more outgoing because I feel free to enter a comment and respond. If you are having trouble at social occa?ions and meetings because of hearing loss, do yourself and others a BIG favor, get tested and get a hearing aid!”


My hearing aids
“Since acquiring my hearings aids from your office, my quality of life has improved in several ways. I am most grateful for your encouraging spirit, continuing support and professional assistance during my followup visits to your office. I also appreciate your prompt and effective response to my occasional calls to you.”


Experience is the best I’ve had!
“Service is unsurpassed and my experience is the best I’ve had!”


I’m very satisfied
“I am very satisfied and have recommended your service to others”


Can you hear me now?
This may be a joke to some but those of us with hearing loss don’t really think it’s funny! With my new hearing aids, technology has come a long way! i heard every word my teacher said in a lecture..for the first time !! Anita Carroll has worked with me to maximize my use of the new technology in hearing aids. In a noisy situation I reached up for the magic button on top of aid, noise went right down in volume !! Just remember to disconnect it when your environment changes !!! If you are considering updating your hearing aids, I say “go for it “hear again !! you’re worth it.


High quality audiologist and hearing aid provider
“Anita Carroll is a highly professional audiologist and hearing aid dispenser. Anita sells products from several major manufacturers, which helps assure that your needs are met. She fits the device to the person, rather than fitting the person to the hearing aid. She is clearly very dedicated to the art and science of helping people manage their hearing and has been very accommodating. Her “I’m in charge here” manner may be offputting at times, but it comes from a desire to see that things are done right.”


Great service, fantastic atmosphere!
“I recently went to Hearing Solutions with my grandson to get repairs done on my hearing aids. Boy, was I surprised to find that the service was phenomenal, and the price was really quite reasonable. Soothing piano tones welcomed my ears after the repairs were completed. Also, the lobby books were informative, particularly the Andy Goldsworthy book, which opened my eyes to the world of outdoor natural sculpture. What a gal, Anita Carroll!”


Effective solution to a musician’s problem!
“As a pianist practicing daily on a beautiful but loud Steinway Grand and playing ensemble with other loud instruments like trumpets, I had run into a worrisome problem. My piano playing was aggravating my hearing loss and tinnitus. Furthermore, I had developed a sensitivity to loud sounds, which was seriously interfering with my musical pleasure. Yet for me discontinuing music was not acceptable. I had taken my problem to Duke Audiology, but they could not come up with an effective solution. Anita came to the rescue! She fitted me with musicians’ earplugs, and they work beautifully. Now I can hear my music and that of my colleagues without the unpleasant side effects. She also was very helpful with other aspects of my hearing problem, including management of my hearing aids.”


I really appreciate the extra time and attention!
“I really appreciated the extra time and attention Anita took to make sure I got the best possible result from my hearing aids. I honestly can’t imagine what I would have done without her help.”


A Wonderful Experience!
“Anita Carroll started on time, was knowledgeable, smart, efficient, and friendly. I have been going to Duke Audiology for the last ten years but am glad I switched. Duke’s care was fine, but Anita clearly loves her work and it shows. And her office is more convenient, has free parking, and offers the kind of personal care that only a small practice can offer. She was very willing to answer all my questions and explained various hearing aid options. and she talked to the dispensary and put me on the line and everything was taken care of in one visit.”


My Hearing Aids Totally Changed My Life! 
“My hearing aids have totally changed my life: social, work and home. Eating out is a pleasure again. Not only do I hear the waitress ask how I want my steak cooked but I can hear my wife talking softly across the table from me. Before hearing aids the background noise could be so distracting that I could not distinguish the sounds and voices near me. Working in the courtroom is so different now. From the Judge on the bench, to the person beside me, to the person walking by, or even someone behind me they are all clear and understandable. Sometimes things or people beside me may be loud and I really need to hear someone on the other side so I touch a button on the hearing aid to bring them in clearly – eavesdropping is such fun – I just love it! My wife even likes them. She thinks I’m listening and paying better attention because I hear her the first time even when she walks by and on out of the room (maybe it’s me that likes them!).”


The difference between day and twilight
I am 72 and have been wearing hearing aids for 5 years. In addition to being lots of fun to work with, Anita clearly knows her stuff, understands hearing loss, has lots of patience, and returns calls promptly. Her office is small and you don’t feel like a number, or that you are being rushed. She is further from me than Duke and their audiologists, but it is worth the extra time and gas to get there. I say “twilight” in my title, because I DO hear, but didn’t always understand. Now I know what’s going on behind me and on all sides. I am blessed to be able to get State Of The Art hearing aids at this time in my life! The concert in Chapel Hill was fabulous and we were in the second to the last row. Dinner beforehand was noisy, but I no longer am disconcerted by background noise. I can concentrate easily, and at the Fitness Center have no trouble with hearing the instructor. No longer am I self conscious about feeling young but “looking older” because of my hearing aids. Remember “your hearing loss is more noticeable than your hearing aids”


There’s Only One Way To Rock
“I play in a rock band and we like to play loud. After years of struggling to find a balance between protecting my ears and hearing the nuances of the music being played, I’m thrilled the problem is solved with my custom earplugs. I was very impressed with the detailed assessment Anita conducted as part of the fitting process. She knows the right questions to ask gigging musicians. She is a total professional and I highly recommend Hearing Solutions in the Triangle.”


Anita Carroll – Chapel Hill
“Anita has been my audiologist from day one. When she became associated with Hearing Solutions, I did not hesitate to call her. I am extremely satisfied with her professional experience and expertise in dealing with my hearing aid needs. When we hit a snag in the process of adjusting the new aids to my satisfaction, she found the solution. I highly recommend Anita and Hearing Solutions to everyone. Thank you.”


I highly recommend Anita Carroll for anyone who has a hearing defect
“I highly recommend Anita Carroll for anyone who has a hearing defect. Thank you, Anita, for being true and loyal to your profession, but even more for your understanding, patience, dedication and sensitivity to the needs of hearing-impaired people.”


Awesome to work with an audiologist who digs musicians
“As a musician, my general experience with audiologists is that they don’t know much about the needs of a musician, which are different than an old guy who needs a hearing aid. But dudes, Anita Carroll breaks that stereotype! She was right on it. Anita made me some awesome custom in-ear monitor sleeves that I wear on stage now and they’re perfect. She had some sweet information to share about what to look out for in terms of hearing damage in the music world. Definitely coming back to her for my next set of molds! Cheers mates.”

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