New app pinpoints Baltimore's loudest and quietest restaurants

La Cuchara is among the Baltimore restaurants the Hearing and Speech Agency has approached about making their environments more friendly to the hearing impaired. Agency staff hosted a training session with restaurant employees. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun video)

Looking for a restaurant in Baltimore where it's easy to have a conversation without screaming over the din? There's an app for that.

New-York-based mobile app Soundprint, billed the "Yelp for Noise," has teamed up with Baltimore's Hearing and Speech Agency to collect data that provides the city with average decibel levels of a restaurant so users can determine the best spots to dine based on noise level, according to a news release.


The app, now live on the Apple Store, allows customers to use a real-time sound meter to take a 15-second reading of the decibel level of a food or drinking establishment. Crowdsourced readings will help create a sound profile for each venue. Like Yelp, the app offers a filter system to search for restaurants, but instead of criteria like distance and price range, Soundpoint will help filter by noise level.

The Baltimore-based Hearing and Speech Agency wants restaurants to prioritize accommodations for people with hearing loss the same way they would make arrangements for people with other needs.

According to the release, app founder Greg Scott stated in the release that he was inspired to create the app after finding that other review sites didn't have accurate sound readings, making it difficult for him to hear and connect with people during dates.


"Many people don't have a concept of healthy noise levels," said Scott in a statement. "This can be a problem both for conversation, and for hearing health."

The app will be an asset to those who are hard of hearing, Hearing and Speech Agency Erin Stauder said in a statement. About 15 percent of American adults have some trouble hearing, with the greatest prevalence of hearing loss between ages 60 and 69, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

"There is a tendency for people who are hard of hearing to simply avoid going out to restaurants; we see this as a way for these individuals to still enjoy the social event of dining out, without having to worry about noise level," Stauder said.

Several hundred sound readings were taken on the app at peak restaurant hours across neighborhoods in Baltimore in April. The compiled data has been used to create create Baltimore's "Quiet List," 70 a-weighted decibels or below (conducive to conversation), and the "Loud List" of restaurants, 76 to 80 a-weighted decibels (noise levels that make conversations difficult). The app has also helped identify the quietest and loudest neighborhoods. View the lists, according to the release, below:


Quietest restaurants in Baltimore

  1. Ban Thai Restaurant
  2. Dalesio's
  3. Himalayan Bistro
  4. Kiku Sushi
  5. Da Mimmo
  6. Lumbini Restaurant
  7. La Tavola
  8. Ikaros
  9. Charleston
  10. Dooby’s

Loudest restaurants in Baltimore

  1. R. House
  2. Holy Frijoles
  3. Homeslyce of Mount Vernon
  4. Rye Street Tavern
  5. Mick O'Shea's
  6. Alexander's Tavern
  7. Papi's Tacos
  8. Clavel
  9. The Brewer's Art
  10. The Boathouse Canton


Recommended on Baltimore Sun