Feeling lonely? Try to increase the volume
TORONTO – With COVID-19 keeping many people isolated and lonely, one way to combat loneliness is to turn up the volume of your favorite song, show or movie, new research suggests.
Researchers at James Cook University in Australia found that people who felt socially isolated preferred higher volumes, music to background noise, than those who felt socially accepted.
“Loud noises are not only desired as a result of social exclusion, they are also effective in alleviating the negative psychological effects of social exclusion, such as social pain, feelings of anger, loneliness and deterioration in life. ‘mood,’ said lead author Adam Wang of James Cook University. in a press release.
Researchers believe that it’s not just the physical component of loud noises that the listener looks for when they turn up the volume.
“It appears that preferences for louder volumes are not motivated solely by physiological reasons, such as the desire to obtain more sensory pleasure from loud music, but by a need for social connection,” added Wang.
Wang and his colleagues believe this breakthrough could help people struggling with the continued isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to activate a loud movie, show, or album is a safer alternative than getting together with others.
“Sound seems like a very convenient and free alternative that could help under these circumstances,” Wang said.
Sound, the researchers say, gives the listener a sense of closeness or connection.
“Sound reflects physical and social proximity to others,” he says. “We think it’s because places that are alive and vibrant tend to be noisier than places that are lifeless and barren.”
People who leave the television on while doing household chores or preparing dinner, or turning on music to study or read knowing they will not be listening to the audio also participate in the sound comfort that noise provides. .
Because sound is readily available, Wang hopes this research can be used more to help all kinds of people facing various forms of isolation.
“It is possible that this research will be used in contexts such as hospitals and nursing homes,” he said. “It can also be used for people who work alone, who live alone or who are undergoing a COVID-19 quarantine period; Turning up the volume can alleviate negative emotions, possibly due to the sense of camaraderie it provides. “