Have you noticed that it seems everywhere you go these days you are having to shout over loud music or some other kind of noise? Think for a moment. Here is a list of places to name a few: Restaurants. No such thing as a quiet dinner anymore. Fuel stations. Why do I need to hear screaming speakers blaring at me when I am pumping gasoline? Convenience stores, clothing stores, book stores... Yes, I said book stores! I thought this was one place I could go for some peace and quiet to be alone with my thoughts...WRONG! Oh well, I guess the marketers in America don't want us to be alone with our thoughts anymore because we might just THINK about the purchase we are making and discover we really don't need it!
Ok, lets continue with that list....We hear loud music in department stores, on the streets from those KA-THUMP....KA-THUMP noise making machines installed in cars. The list could go on and the only way I can explain it is that we are cultivating a population addicted to noise. The more we are subjected to the noise the more some of us think we need to have it. Some people are exposed so much to noise that they don't know what it is like to enjoy giving peace and quiet a chance.
Of all my experiences in learning about the American culture of loud and rude, I can only come to the conclusion that once someone becomes so used to hearing loud music filling the ear canals--a strange phenomenon occurs--and that is, once the sound is turned off---the sound of silence is deafening!
I don't know how to explain this in scientific terms, but I know audiologists can--and may refer the following phenomenon I describe as "ACOUSTIC OVER-STIMULATION"----AND....from what I have read and experienced---when someone becomes addicted to loud music in their....ears and once it is turned off, the sound of silence becomes a loud hissing sort of noise--and is less tolerable than the loud music itself in their ears. Woah! That was a long winded explanation but I hope it made sense!
Why are restaurants contributing to the noise culture? Is there some kind of strange pre-conceived assumption that customers want loud music? I am talking about a restaurant now...Not a night club. I don't know about you, but I never walked OUT of a restaurant because the music was not loud enough. I may also add that in these restaurants, the loud music is NOT calming background dinner music, rather it is a loud thumping sound.
Why have so many restaurants joined this trend? Is there an assumption that it will drive people nuts, make them eat faster--or MORE--and thus, somehow create a higher turnover rate? I know a lot of people who will walk out of a restaurant if it is too loud. I often wondered, how is the loud music supposed to enhance my meal? It certainly doesn't help my digestion, rather, it makes me want to spew all over the dining room like that fat guy in the Monty Python movie!
Anyway, there is definitely something different surrounding us these days with being acoustically assaulted everywhere we go. I am not someone who expects my surroundings to be as quiet as a funeral home all the time, but if you have any inkling as to what I am writing about, you have to admit the loud music assault EVERYWHERE we go these days is a bit much--and soooo ‘in-your-face‘ obnoxious and rude! A most recent experience was in a Best Buy store. It prompted me to write the letter below to one of their corporate bots. It was a follow up letter in support of a fellow noise pollution activist.
As a fellow activist in reducing unnecessary noise in my community, I fully support Judy Ellis' platform in her letter on noise inside your stores. It must stop. I walked out of your store at least three times without a purchase due to this nonsense. Judy is right---It is NOT music coming from these devices, it is noise, period. You do not have the right to impose on all of your customers, what appeals to only a few in the anti-social bunch---who will then purchase the equipment you sell and turn loose on a helpless public---this imposing noise which starts inside your stores. Thanks to that nonsense, I have lost countless hours of quality rest needed to perform my job well. I am only one of tens of thousands who can claim the same, young and old alike.
I have wondered often.....Are you (Best Buy) happy being a part of driving the public crazy and inflicting the kind of physical damage that can result from particular kinds of unnecessary and excessive noise? I suggest you get an education as to what you are doing to the public by visiting www.noiseoff.org. Regardless, I am sure you and your colleagues will find some way to rationalize the noise addiction and your decision to impose it upon your customers, but the fact remains, it is wrong. If the few who purchase such noise making products, packaged and marketed as 'music delivery systems', want to ruin their hearing by 30, so be it, but the rest of us do not wish to lose ours--or pay for their future disability in some way.
I suggest you offer those addicted to the noise a private room with headphones for demonstrations if they want to ruin their hearing. Because of promoting such products, you are in part, responsible for countless communities nationwide to have to spend time and public money re-writing ordinances to curb this noise. It is corporate irresponsibility all the way--and such that depends upon a buyer making the irresponsible decision to unleash the noise on the public.
You can at least take immediate action by stopping the noise assault on ALL your customers to lure the few. I cannot shop in your store and make an important purchase decision because of your decisions to assault customers with loud bass. I cannot even hear the salesman! Secondly, warn customers that if they purchase such products like the car audio devices, they may be subject to heavy fines for using such equipment illegally on the road.
Lastly, I have a question... How many people can you prove---have NOT walked into your store because of LACK of noise? Probably none! On the other hand, I can tell you that many will walk out because of too much noise. The deafer the public becomes, the louder your equipment will get---and when they become totally deaf...you will no longer have a customer base, will you? Hmmmm.. How much will this cost the social system? Please stop behaving like corporate brats out of control. Please grow up and turn the noise down!
Robert S. Carillio