Noise Levels Inside NY Buildings Dangerously High

Workspace noise inspections generally happen at construction sites or factories, but they may soon be coming to your corner restaurant, bar, or gym.
Noise Levels Inside NY Buildings Dangerously High
Amelia Pang

NEW YORK—Workspace noise inspections generally happen at construction sites or factories, but a niche of dangerously loud working zones might have been overlooked by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): restaurants and recreational sites.

The New York Times measured the noise level of 37 restaurants, bars, stores, and gyms across the city, and found that one-third of those places have noise levels that are borderline dangerous.

The noise level of an Upper West Side spin class at Crunch gym reached 100 decibels on average over 40 minutes, while a downtown Manhattan C train reached 84 decibels—normal conversation is 60 to 65 decibels.

Hearing loss prevention experts warn against exposure to noise levels at or exceeding 100 decibels for 15 minutes or more without hearing protection.

According to The New York Times report, the Lavo restaurant in Manhattan measured an average of 96 decibels in an hour. Government standards require hearing protection if employees are exposed to that level of sound for more than three and a half hours, but the reporter did not see anyone wearing earplugs.

“We definitely consider those levels able to cause damage and likely to cause permanent damage with repeated exposure,” Laura Kauth, an audiologist and president of the National Hearing Conservation Association told The New York Times. “They’re experiencing industrial-level noise.”

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Amelia Pang is a New York-based, award-winning journalist. She covers local news and specializes in long-form, narrative writing. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and global studies from the New School. Subscribe to her newsletter:
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