Announcing… nothing

Today, on my twenty-minute tube journey, I counted 37 announcements.

They covered a diverse range of stimulating topics, from informing me of the current station to asking me to take my litter home.

That’s 1.85 announcements per minute – nearly one every 30 seconds.

That’s 74 announcements per daily commute (excluding any extra trips during work).

People complain about the number of advertising messages we are exposed to each day. Operatic comparison site salesmen aside, I’d pick TV ads (which I can mute) over being trapped in a metal box bombarded, against my will, with loud interruptions.

This tally of decibel-based intrusion does not include:

  • Other People’s Noises (yapping on the phone, headphone residue, screaming child)
  • Incidental Backgound Noise (metallic screeching, footsteps, whirring escalators)
  • High Pitched Beeps (doors opening, doors closing, doors opening, doors closing…)

I want to know how this is affecting my brain.

How it is affecting my ability to concentrate.

More critically, how it is affecting my relationship with sound.

If we spend an hour every day blocking out the sounds around us (because they are monotone, brash and irrelevant), do we blunt our receptiveness to the subtlety around us – a bird, a chuckle, a whisper?

I’d like to hear what Dr Daniel Müllensiefen makes of this.

I’d like to hear what Transport for London has to say.

I’d love to hear what you think.

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But what do YOU think?

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