Category Archives: Pipedown news

Restaurants deafen diners with music, GFG warns

The Good Food Guide 2018  once more includes information  about whether or not the place reviewed has music (though it does not specify what sort of music).

The GFG now reports that more and more establishments are alienating their customers by deafening them with ‘Glastonbury-force’ piped music.

This year’s guide, just published , warns of an ‘unprecedented trend for noisy restaurants, which is leading to a spike in complaints from sensitive eared customers….Restaurants are getting noisier – that’s what our readers, this year in unprecedented numbers, are telling us. Noise levels, already amplified by bare-bones design, are being raised by music played at Glastonbury force. Everyone loves a restaurant that has a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere, but it becomes exhausting and self-defeating when, as one old hand told us: ‘I have never heard such loudly amplified music in an eating place. It was so loud that I couldn’t hear a word the waitress was saying, and vice versa. We had to gesture and point.”

The recent very common trend for minimalist bare walls and floors, ‘not just in hipster places’, is also changing the acoustics in restaurants and making it difficult for people to hear each other.

Pipedown in collaboration with Action on Hearing Loss (aka RNID), is planning a fresh campaign to make restaurateurs far more aware of this problem.

Noise second only to air pollution as a cause of death, a new survey from New York shows

A new survey from New York  reveals the effects on human health of noise of all sorts. Noise is now second only to air pollution in its adverse effects on human health. Hypertension and cancer are two  of the potentially fatal illnesses that excessive, non-stop music – which triggers a fight-or-flight response – can cause. And, as the report in Harpers Bazaar magazine points out, you can no longer hope to find a refuge in bars, hotels, restaurants or even bookshops, as almost all are filled with piped music!

‘Loud noise correlated with high-stress events that could damage tissue: thunder, animal roars, screams, or war cries,’ says Bart Kosko, Ph.D., a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California and the author of Noise. So, in response to rare but loud threats, we evolved to spurt out adrenalin, cortisol, and other stress hormones—chemicals that jacked up our bodies so we could fight or flee. A constant gush of stress hormones actually restructures the brain, contributing to tumor development, heart disease, respiratory disorders, and more. And of course, our hormonal endocrine systems haven’t had time to learn that car stereos aren’t out to get us. ‘Today we regularly get similar stress-hormone surges from car alarms, ringing phones, police sirens, leaf blowers, jackhammers, and amplified voices.’

The problem is of course global and not confined to the USA.

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a10295155/noise-detox/

 

Leafleting Proms Concert goers

Carol Caplan has had a Brilliant Idea: handing out Pipedown leaflets to concert goers as they enter or leave a concert hall. As people who appreciate music when freely  chosen are among our keenest members, targeting people at such concerts should prove far more fruitful than thrusting leaflets at the general public. This idea is particularly promising at the start of the Proms Season at the Albert Hall.

Carol  would much appreciate other Pipedowners’ company and support. This should take members very little time but ideally you should live in or near London. She is also interested in starting a local group for Pipedowners living in London, especially those living in the N2, N3, N8, N10, N11, N12, N14,N21, N22 post codes.

Contact her at  Pipedown@ossian.me.uk

 

Ann Arbor launches 1st Pipedown USA

People living in the USA have long complained about the problems caused by piped music there. Now the Ann Arbor, Michigan group has relaunched itself with a sparkling new website  http://quietannarbor.org

Although their intention is to focus on local problems first – understandably, the US being a big place – they are very happy to exchange contacts and ideas with Americans from other states. So do contact them quietannarbor@gmail.com

Write to your new MP about piped music in hospitals

Politics in Britain look to be unusually volatile in the next few months. This very uncertainty  give us a chance to alert MPs – plenty of them new to Westminster  – to the problems caused by piped music, and also the need for official action to ban it in hospitals. This could come either  through a Private Member’s Bill or directly by moves by the Department of Health. Copies of Whose Choice is it Anyway?, highlighting the stress such noise can cause, are available free on request.

If you have a new MP, write to him/her explaining the many grave problems piped music can cause, especially to people affected by presbycusis, tinnitus, misophonia and hyperacusis and  also ME and autism. The MP concerned may be totally unaware of any of these problems.

Disability: suitable grounds for action?

The number of people with a disability that can be worsened or  triggered by loud piped music is large and growing. The category includes people suffering from autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, tinnitus, presbycusis, hyperacusis, ME and misophonia as well as general difficulty in hearing. Added together they make up at least 20% of the population. Up  to now this sizeable minority has been mostly ignored not only by supermarkets and other retailers but also – far more disgracefully – by those running hospitals, health centres, gyms and public swimming pools. This is despite the requirement to consider the needs of people with such conditions under the Disability Act of 1995 and the Equality Act of 2010.

There are signs that the commercial sector at least is beginning to wake up the problem. Some have been trialling quiet hours and/or quiet days, or even thinking of dropping piped music altogether. (See previous posts.)   If you or people you know suffer from any of these, problems, when protesting do mention it, and also the two Acts. Stress that by playing inescapable loud music throughout their premises shops, gyms etc are excluding large groups of people. If it is unacceptable to exclude people on grounds of colour, sexuality, gender, race or religion from public places, it is equally unacceptable, and against the law, to exclude people because of their disabilities mentioned above.  

 

 

 

 

 

Post comments on the presence/absence of piped music on Booking.com etc

As the holiday season gets going, people planning a trip start looking at sites such as Tripadvisor www.tripadvisor.co.uk, Booking.com  www.booking.com and Expedia  https://www.expedia.co.uk

If you visit a hotel/restaurant/bar and comment online about it, don’t forget to add whether or not the place concerned has piped music. Do so very prominently. If enough comments – intelligent, polite but pointed comments –  are posted about piped music, hoteliers and restaurateurs should start to take note.  (Some people object to the potential misuse of these sites. Certain comments may be prejudiced, some may be malicious and even orchestrated, but overall they  can still help the prospective traveller – and also the hotelier/restaurateur concerned.)

Sign the petition to pressure supermarkets to introduce Quiet Hours/Days

There are tentative signs that more of the big supermarkets considering following M&S and reducing, even phasing out, their piped music, in part because of protests from people with autism, tinnitus, Asperger’s syndrome and similar health problems. Tesco is trialling ‘quiet hours’ in some of its Tesco Extra branches, where piped music is often played. Two other of the big four supermarkets also seem to have taken note of the petition below. Morrisons has announced that they are working with the National Autistic Society to pilot “quiet hours” in three stores, Woking, Gainsborough and Lincoln, from 09.00 to 10.00 on Saturday mornings. This pilot scheme starts on 27th March and will last for three months. ASDA has gone further and is planning to introduce “quiet hours” in its stores across the nationwide  to collect responses about a complete withdrawal of the piped music in their stores.

Like Action on Hearing Loss and other groups representing  people with such disabilities,, Pipedown has been pushing supermarkets to wake up to the problems that piped music causes such vulnerable shoppers. Now they finally seem to be listening. We must keep up the pressure.

Sign the petition below to help persuade the supermarkets. 

https://www.change.org/p/make-all-reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-customers/w?source_location=petition_nav

 

 

 

The Noise Climate Post-Brexit, a new e-book, is launched.

 

The Noise Climate Post-Brexit, a short new e-book, has been launched.  It is the first publication to assess what UK noise policy might look like after Brexit.  It argues there could be a new freedom for Government, the private sector and individual entrepreneurs to develop practical solutions to the the pollutant that affects more people in their day to day lives than just about any other’.

Here is the link to the book: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-Noise-Climate-Post-Brexit-1-1.pdf

It is an upbeat book, with an emphasis on solutions not problems to many aspects of noise pollution.    It makes a plea for piped music to be regulated in places where people have no choice but to listen to it “No patient should unwillingly be subjected to piped music or televisions in hospitals. health centres or nursing homes”.

For further information contact John Stewart the author on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650