I read an interesting article a few months ago about restaurants and how they have changed their interior decor to primarily “hard surfaces” and little upholstered furniture or carpet. The “hard surfaces” result in a much noisier environment, which means it’s more difficult to converse over a meal. But this type of decor also results in the customers not staying as long, which means more turnover in a typical evening which means more income for the restaurant.
I have noticed this trend where I live. There is one particular Mexican restaurant that we used to love - it was in a small location but was worth the wait. They moved to a larger location but the new location is one large room with high ceilings and no carpet or upholstery at all. We had a friend who has a hearing problem who was visiting and we didn’t think about that when we took her there. I felt so bad because I am sure that she was having trouble hearing us. It wasn’t a very relaxing dinner - we got out of there as soon as we could.
Just found a couple of articles on this topic:
Edit: I just found a “Sound Meter” app for my phone that measures the noise level (in decibels) in a room. It’s called Sound Meter and is made by a company called “Smart Tools Co.”