My hearing is normal (it's been recently tested). I can't understand why so many of the most popular restaurants in the U.S. are so noisy that it's almost impossible to carry on a normal conversation. For example, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles are deafeningly loud with both loud conversation and raucous music (at CUT). This is not the case at most nice restaurants in Europe where a civilized conversation in normal tone of voice is possible. I know that this will sound terribly elitist, but I'm beginning to think that many people who go to these "in" dining places in the U.S. are only interested in the "scene" or maybe the food, and have no interest in either serious or meaningful converstion when they dine out. Am I wrong...or is there another explanation as to why noisy restaurants seem to be so popular?