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91.7 WVXU welcomed food writer Julie Niesen in August 2018. Niesen will delve into local, regional and national food and restaurant trends, news of interest to local diners and food lovers, and the people and personalities in the Greater Cincinnati food scene.Niesen has been covering local food since 2008. Her award-winning blog, wine me, dine me, has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Serious Eats, The Cincinnati Enquirer (and its former weekly, Metromix), WCPO Digital, City Beat, WCPO-TV, Fox19, and many more. She is a longtime resident of Over-the-Rhine, where she lives with her menagerie of pets. When she's not eating food, thinking about food, cooking food or writing about food, she runs a thought leadership program for a technology company in Chicago.

Noisy Restaurants: For Those With Hearing Loss, It's More Than A Hazard

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We're in the midst of a restaurant renaissance. With more options and new joints opening regularly, dining out is hipper than ever. But there's something else amping up this gastronomic experience: noise.

The ambient sound inside restaurants is climbing, now reaching into the high 70-decibel range. That's equivalent to a vacuum cleaner. At 75 decibels, it is hard to have a conversation without shouting. It's enough to cause hearing damage in all of us, and for people already experiencing hearing loss, a noisy restaurant can amount to discrimination.

The loud volume inside a restaurant can be injurious to diners with hearing disorders such as tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and hyperacusis, or noise-induced pain. The inability to hear anyone around the dinner table is enough to keep some with hearing loss from dining out entirely. Under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, places with public accommodation must also accommodate disabilities. But when it comes to a hearing impairment, how can a restaurant comply? While some restauranteurs could turn down the volume of their music, it's hard to turn down the volume on other diners in mid-conversation, or the clatter of the kitchen staff.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss noisy restaurants and what some restauranteurs are doing to help are WVXU food writer and Wine Me Dine Me author Julie Niesen; and The Hill Hear Better Clinic Audiologist Michael Hill, Au.D.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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