Although it has been only two months since our last look ...
... Reigler's recent treatment of the topic is superlative and more localized. It includes sound sampling in decibels of several local restaurants. The article is an excellent read, and I'm highlighting just two small bits here.
Restaurant noise: Please turn down the volume!, by Susan Reigler (LEO Weekly)
... This is my pet peeve about many restaurants and I suspect it might be yours, too. You go out to eat not only to save yourself the task of cooking if you don’t feel up to it, but also to enjoy conversation over a shared meal. That’s very difficult, if not impossible, when the restaurant is so loud that you can’t hear one another. And no, texting each other at the table should not be the solution to this problem.
What can you do?
If you do find yourself craving the food at a place where the acoustics seem deafening, here are a few strategies:
1. Go during off-peak times. Dining early in the evening (before 6:30) or late (after 9:00) will often be when the restaurant is less crowded. Sunday and Monday nights tend to be less busy, as well. Fewer people having to shout at each other means a quieter restaurant.
2. Dine al fresco. Obviously this is a “weather permitting” option. Though sometimes, outdoor speakers mean that music can still drown out conversation, not to mention that some restaurant patios allow smoking. (A whole other category of experience spoiler.)
3. Avoid “kids-eat-free” nights. Do this not only to preserve your hearing, but your sanity. Almost no one bothers anymore to teach their children that dinner is a time to sit quietly, eat and eavesdrop on the things adults are saying that are not supposed to be heard by innocent ears.
4. Don’t be reluctant to make your displeasure about the sound level known. It just might get results.