Turning noise back into sound

Whether loud or quiet, noise can be a problem. But not for everyone though, as Victoria Bates, associate professor from the University of Bristol, demonstrates.

How the noises of a hospital can become a healing soundscapePsyche Ideas
The label of ‘noise’ is attached to sounds for a wide range of reasons that go beyond loudness. A quiet sound can become noisy over time, sometimes bothering only one person who is frustrated that nobody else can hear it: a ticking clock, for example, or the rattling of an air conditioner. Loud sounds can be tuned out through familiarity. ‘Alarm fatigue’ is often experienced by staff members working in high-technology environments. […]

‘Noise is to sound what stench is to smell (and what weed is to plant) – something dissonant, unwanted, out of place, and invasive.’

A fascinating take on how to turn noise — not just an acoustic phenomenon, but an individual and social one — back into sound.

These sounds save livesVimeo
The purpose of the film was initially to promote & demystify the topics within Victoria Bates’ new book titled Making Noise in the Modern Hospital. But as we developed the script and style, we found that by broadening the audience and centering the patient experience the film could also serve a therapeutic and educational purpose. If this film can help us reframe how we hear and listen within hospitals, maybe then it can help us cope in future moments of distress or anxiety.

A visit to hospital can be a uncomfortable experience and noise is often a source of complaints. Over the years, the NHS has spent significant amounts of money on things like sound-proofing and internal communications campaigns to try and reduce noise within the hospital, but as our film makes clear – silence is never the goal.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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