In Get Your Daily Jolt of Noise… I shared about my growing awareness of the horrible sound environments in the majority of coffee shops in urban environments. I invited you to stop tolerating noisy coffee shops and start requesting turning the volume down – not just on the music, but on the machinery and equipment too. Close the doors and stop the din of traffic from outside contributing to the echo chamber that most coffee shops are.
Perhaps the next question is “Why do we tolerate all this noise?” It’s because you’re brilliant. We all are. Our brains are masters at filtering out unwanted sounds. We need to do this in order to focus on what’s important to us. If we could not filter out unwanted sound we’d go nuts. Can you imagine having an important conversation with a friend if you could not help but pay equal attention to all the other conversations, noises, and music that was occurring around you? Long, long ago, we had to filter out little more than nature sounds like wind, water and rain. Now we must filter out much more noise. It’s got to the point where our brilliance at ignoring unwanted sound is our poison. All this louder noise is stressing our bodies. The constant clangor of urban life is causing our bodies to release our fight or flight hormones – adrenalin and cortisol. These are meant for emergencies, not to be part of a continuous diet.
We put up with it and I think things are reaching a breaking point. I’m pointing out noise to people and they are telling me how they are now becoming aware of it. This is the first step.
To hear the powerful difference paying attention to noise can make, listen to these 2 sound samples of the same coffee shop that Julian Treasure provides links to in his book Sound Business. The only difference between the 2 examples is that in the second, Treasure’s company The Sound Agency altered the ceiling to absorb sound.