Customers in Spanish restaurants asked to ‘dine quietly’ by new campaign

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RESTAURANTS in Spain may be world famous for the quality of food and wine, but one charity has started an initiative to lower the noise volume in the country´s eateries.

Oir es Clave is a charity for people with hearing impairments and their ‘Dine Quietly’ campaign is directed at diners who they say could be a little quieter as they enjoy their meals.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging a more appealing atmosphere in restaurants which will also make life easier for those who are hard of hearing.


“Spain is the second noisiest country in the world after Japan,” the charity´s director Svante Borjesson told Spanish media.

“We are working to improve the quality of life for people with auditory problems and our ‘dine quietly’ initiative benefits not only our particular interest group but the whole of society,” he added.

The initiative calls on restaurants to do what they can to lower noise levels and has provided some guidelines such as switching off TVs and radios and minimising street noise from entering the establishments.

More tips are available on its website 

The campaign already has the backing of Hotel Único in Madrid chef Ramón Freixa who said: “Gastronomy is an experience of the senses and noise can harm that pleasure.”


  1. About darned time. When my wife and I go into a Spanish restaurant or bar that is full of locals the noise level is unbelievable. I am hard of hearing and have problems every time. In some open beach restaurants that are crowded you can hear the noise from 100yds away.

  2. whilst I agree there can be. a lot of noise in certain restaurants/bars, I also think that wee need to bare in mind that a lot of people are here on holiday (we are a tourist destination, after all), and need to enjoy themselves and ‘let off steam” in order to be able to wind down. I think it is up to the bar owners to take responsible for informing customers about behaviour, and not charities.

  3. The fact Spain is the world’s noisiest country after Japan (I didn’t know about Japan and am amazed Spain has a rival) has never been any secret. It’s something we knew when we came here to live and we know it before we enter a bar. One table occupied in a 150m2 premises means you have to shout to be heard (avoid ‘housewife bars’, they’re the worst!) But there ARE places you can go which are relatively deserted, or favoured by quieter foreigners. I don’t think there’s any harm in subtly pointing out to the ‘Mari Carmens’ and ‘Marujas’ that it’s polite to not scream their heads off. On the other hand, if a place is too noisy for you, don’t go there. This sudden witch-hunt about noise had led to live bands struggling to make a living as bars are forced to give up gigs, or shut insanely early, which ruins a major part of Spain’s culture.
    If you’re hard of hearing, you can get a hearing implement (and WEAR it, not like my 90-year-old Grandma who never does, bless her! 😀 )

  4. I would add, too, that the difference in a UK pub or restaurant is eerie. If you raise your voice much above a whisper, everyone stares, often disapprovingly, and many shush at you. My voice isn’t loud and doesn’t carry, but this has happened to me when I’ve been sober. What a strain – I don’t go out with my friends or family to spend the evening whispering, and the idea of going out is to chat to each other. Background music is great and adds atmosphere. I would not want Spain to become like the UK in this respect.
    Spaniards do tend to all talk at once and interject constantly; any adult or child will admit you HAVE to shout or you won’t be heard. Combined, it’s a Babel Tower. But that’s what this country IS. Nobody goes to UK and grumbles that women wear short skirts and no hiyab, so why should us whispering Brits moan about the fact Spain is (as we already knew) a bit loud?
    Outdoor beach film showings should have a ‘silence’ notice, though, or at least subtitles.


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