Introducing Quiet Scotland
When I retired, I was really looking forward to the luxury of time. This included time to browse in shops; time to potter in charity shops; time to meet friends for a drink or a meal. Sadly, I discovered that the pleasure of browsing in shops proved to be impossible for me because nearly all of them play loud thudding vocal music. All day, every day. Even charity shops. After a few minutes I found it became unbearable and I had to leave. Even meeting up with friends in a cafe or pub was difficult because the loud background music often made conversation a challenge. 

At first I thought this was my problem. Then I discovered that most people I know are affected in the same way.
When I asked if they ever complained, virtually all of them said, “No, but I walk out of the shop.” Or, “No, but I wonʼt be going back to that restaurant again.” Businesses had no idea how many sales they were losing.

In 2012 I contacted Edinburgh members of Pipedown and we set up a local group, Quiet Edinburgh, to campaign against enforced background music in both local businesses and further afield. People living in other areas of Scotland asked if they could join us and we renamed our group Quiet Scotland in 2017. We now have a website and are active on both Twitter @QuietScotland and Facebook

Doing research, it soon became clear that loud background music is not stressful just for older people but is a particular problem for people with sensory problems, such as the autistic, sufferers from ME/CFS, tinnitus and dementia. The largest group of sufferers are the hearing-impaired. Far from hearing music more faintly as you get older, the aging ear often causes you to hear the lower notes more loudly than younger people. This is why so many older people complain about ‘thudding’ music. People wearing hearing aids say that it can actually be painful to listen to.

I very much hope others who are affected in the same way will use this forum and realise that they are not alone.

Active member of Quiet Edinburgh/Quiet Scotland since 2012

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