Empire Acoustical Systems, 89 Park Ave. W, Mansfield, OH 44902
D. Lubman and Assoc., Westminster, CA 92683
The predominant problem of the hearing-impaired individual is speech communication. In noisy and reverberant restaurants where speech communication is difficult to impossible, these individuals cannot enjoy the experience of dining out. This fact was conveyed to the US government during hearings for the Americans with Disabilities Act. A program was funded by the federal government to develop recommendations for improving the acoustical quality of restaurants so that hearing-impaired individuals could enjoy the experience of dining out. A three-phase program consisting of a literature search, the evaluation of the acoustical environment in selected restaurants, and the development of proposed recommendations to improve speech communication by hearing-impaired individuals in restaurants was carried out by Battelle. An advisory panel of professional and lay individuals was established to review the work of this program. The proposed recommendations developed focused on reducing reverberation times and noise levels in restaurants. Several recommendations are presented for achieving these goals.