What is the Ambient Menu?

The Ambient Menu is a web app that connects people who struggle to hear in background noise to an acoustically friendly restaurant. We act as a conduit to guide you to a restaurant where you can comfortably have a conversation.

We believe that good conversation + good people + good food + good service = a memorable experience.
This promotes socially active living, improving people’s lives.
Our mission is to take the ‘din’ out of dinner.

Why we started

Laura Drexler is the creator of the Ambient Menu. During her Masters of Audiology research project, her team investigated the topic of commensality.

Commensality is the act of eating and drinking together at the same table, as in the nightly family dinner. It is a social activity that creates and cements relationships and establishes that group’s ‘norm.’.

They researched whether hearing loss affected commensality, and if so, how? What became overwhelmingly apparent during the interviews was that people with hearing loss didn’t mention the family dinner; they all spoke about how they struggled at social occasions in restaurants. That one situation was where they felt isolated, missed out on conversation, felt exhausted from increased listening effort, and would rather avoid that situation all together than catch up with friends.

This is where the Ambient Menu was born.

We believe everyone has the right to partake in good conversation, eat good food, and receive good service. These three key ‘ingredients’ make for a memorable experience.

We aim to act as a conduit to connect the ideal restaurant to the ideal consumer, encouraging a symbiotic relationship between the two.
This encourages socially active living for people with hearing loss, improving their lives while supporting local restaurants and the community.

Laura Drexler

Ambient Menu creator Laura Drexler spent over 20 years in SA Ambulance as a paramedic. Her interest in audiology was sparked by several key moments, such as attending several patients with vestibular issues such as vertigo and suffering communication issues.

Her husband also started experiencing vestibular problems, including occupational noise-induced hearing loss with debilitating tinnitus. He received great relief from visiting several audiologists, and Laura decided that was a career she wanted to spend the rest of her life doing. She undertook her Masters of Audiology whilst still working as a paramedic and fitness instructor.

Whilst doing her masters research project, her team investigated the topic of commensality, something close to her heart because of her love of food. What they found during their research was what led to the Ambient Menu.

Laura believes everyone should enjoy the wonderful food Adelaide has to offer, as well as the social engagement that comes from sharing that meal as much as she does. Previously, no one in the world has created an app that rates restaurants on their ambience level, while accrediting the places that are conversationally friendly.

Laura continues to work as an adult rehabilitation audiologist at an independent clinic in Adelaide’s South whilst doing extra studies in acoustic consultancy. Her main focus is educating her patients on communication strategies so they feel confident and empowered in engaging in conversation once again. She thoroughly enjoys seeing the significant improvements her personalised advice on communication strategies or hearing devices (if required) can make to her patients’ lives.