As regular readers of this blog will know, I have problems with noise sensitivity. For that reason, I prefer to stay away from a range of common types of places and events such as parties, dinners, shopping malls, train stations, and so on, and I often use ear plugs to cope with noisy everyday situations.
This video, shared by Aspieme, illustrates well how common ambient ‘soundscapes’ can sound when your* ‘sensory filters’ are missing or incomplete, and a chaos of random ambient noise and visual impulses constantly hurl straight into your mind at a much faster rate than what you can process. Then follows the inevitable consequence of drowning in sensory inputs: the mental traffic jam called sensory overload.
The video illustrates both the flooding with general ambient noise and flickr, sudden assaults caused by specific trigger noises, and surrounding peoples’ indifference to the mayhem around them.
For me personally, the street scene hits the mark, the cafe scene not so much. The cafe soundscape elements are right, but real life doesn’t introduce them gently one by one. Real life cafes tend to have a much higher noise density, loudness and murmur of chatter ‘spiced’ with sudden, loud, sharp and high pitched noises which may have a slight echo-like effect** in rooms with hard surfaces (like cafes tend to have). Sudden outbreaks of high pitched girl laughter tend to be louder and infectious, starting off lavines of sudden group-laughter… and so on. Still, the video excellently illustrates the overwhelming real soundscapes of everyday situations which most people tend to filter automatically without even thinking about it.
*’You’ used as a general pronoun here
** Turns out that the majority of words are based on the visual sense, which makes it hard to describe sound-perception
(This image is mainly here because every post needs an image as icon to work with the “Related” system below. Image by jpd2010 on Openclipart.org)