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Why does a $200 million plane have the same bad acoustics as my local coffee shop? [VIDEO]


It’s a damn good question. Only one of these things has wooden floors, so that’s not it.

If you spend any time on aircrafts, or in most coffee shops, you start to wonder about acoustics.

These two different environments make talking, let alone concentrating, almost impossible. The slow, endless drone of an aircraft engine is mind numbing. The inability to have a conversation with someone who is sitting across from you in a coffee shop is endlessly frustrating.

Both these things, and so many more, are purely design flaws. If you’re a frequent flyer, chances are you’ve bought noise-cancelling headphones. And, we get used to raising our voices when eating out. We have come to accept bad acoustics as normal.

But should we? Sure, these are first world problems, but what about students missing what their teachers are saying because of poor acoustics? Have you spent any time in a hospital lately? Could you sleep? Sleep helps you get better, yet it’s almost impossible to achieve in most hospitals.

In this TED video, Julian Treasure examines how sounds make us feel about our world. Treasure asks us to pay attention to the sounds that surround us. How do they make us feel: productive, stressed, energized, acquisitive?

But more to the point, what should we be feeling from the sounds around us?

Why architects need to design with their ears