I've noticed this trend when visiting stores that the music, which used to be (and is supposed to be) for background purposes only, has become louder. Certainly stereo systems are designed to be louder than ever. Commercials have become louder. And those ridiculous ipod's and other mini-stereo gadgets that have addicted the masses to tuning out their surrounding environment whilst ensuring they damage their precious gift of hearing are only adding to the masses becoming used to unhealthy levels of noise.
Need I even talk about the lighting in stores, too? Those god-awful fluorescent lights that blind the eyes, numb the brain and overwhelm the senses. Add in the loud music and you have created an environment that is simply too stimulating for the brain to process all of that external noise and sight pollution.
I took my little pooch to the park today. The sun was shining, there were no other visitors at the park. The birds were singing their tunes. All was well. That is until the street sweeper decided to pass by. I've never stood near one of those things. Loud doesn't describe the noise. Overwhelming strikes of obnoxious buzzing at frequencies not designed to be taken in by the brain without some sort of negative effect. I ended up plugging my ears. It that wasn't enough, the guy decided to back up, which added in that annoying "beep beep beep", ringing at decibels again that are not healthy or conducive to normal hearing.
Once the street sweeper exited, someone drove past with their stereo playing very loudly. After that, the lovely sounds of low frequency thumping pass was heard coming out of another vehicle.
The overstimulation instinct kicked in and I simply had to cover my ears and scream "ENOUGH!!!!"
By this time, pooch was getting tired and wanted to go home. However, a couple of children had arrived with an adult and were playing on the swings, their joyous squeals and laughter a much welcome sound to the senses. I realized for the moment, all was well again. I could hear the birds squawking and whistling again. Natural sounds.
We stayed for awhile longer, just to take it all in.