July 25, 2016


Is the world getting noisier?

The journal Environmental Health Perspectives writes that noise is defined by some experts as simply “unwanted sound.” Others describe the effects of noise pollution as a “civil rights issue,” as many modern sounds—car alarms, mobile phones—are totally unregulated.


Even perennial party boy and country music superstar Kenny Chesney notes on his song “Noise” that the constant strain of ordinary sounds interrupting everyday life, lamenting that “we can’t turn it off” and it is “drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy.”

People are seeking out ways to quiet the din of beeps, rings, alarms and ads. There is the Calm app with simple, guided meditations, tranquil imagery and a selection of relaxing sounds, including “passing clouds” and “suspended droplets,” all to help consumers find peaceful moments in busy lives.

With increasingly intrusive personal technology in public spaces, examples abound of consumer pushback on noisy environments. On the job less than a year, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron sat down with Varietymagazine for a seemingly innocuous interview at CinemaCon in April. When asked if he would allow texting in AMC theaters in the future, he said he might “take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.” Thanks to social media awareness of the interview, public outcry was swift—within 48 hours, AMC sent an email with the subject line “AMC listens to our audience: yes to theatre enhancements, no to texting.”

Noting that they “heard loud and clear” from audiences, “when the lights dim, we’ll remember your advice that your fellow moviegoers should turn off their phones.” There is even a new “quiet snacks menu” introduced by the Toronto International Film Festival to be sold at concessions at its TIFF Bell Lightbox headquarters, featuring “more variety and less noisy packaging.”

From everyday moviegoers to Kenny Chesney … consumers have spoken. Shhh!

Karen Sims, Vice President of People and Development, holds the record for most laughs received during Power Point presentations. She’s also a huge fan of the band KISS.