At this exact moment, somewhere, someone is connecting their phone to a speaker to amplify their playlist without paying attention to what is happening around them. What does this mean? What are the implications, causes, and consequences of this act? What about the catchy songs purposely made for the melody to be held hostage in our heads with no expiration date? I’m calling these and other sonic situations sound abuse.

A great example of sound abuse is the situation with loudspeakers on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. At the end of April, Rio de Janeiro City Hall decided to catch anyone with speakers on the beach. The controversy that erupted shows how important the subject is. Some opinions were raised in protest arguing about cultural issues. Saying that people from the suburbs have a habit of listening to loud music in their speakers and it wouldn’t be democratic to prohibit it. First, it’s not just the suburban people who use speakers. Everyone does, and that creates chaos, a war of frequencies, timbres, rhythms, and lines whose effect is… saturation, irritation, and stress for hundreds of thousands who go to the beach just to enjoy. You can’t hear the sea or whoever is next to you with a loudspeaker on the right and another on the left. Well, we are talking about the use of public space. As it is open, some think it belongs to no one. It is more complex to explain to these people that it belongs to everyone. And we don’t want anything screaming in our ears. Second: it is widely documented in the scientific literature that certain sound stimuli stress, and accelerate the heartbeat and brain waves. The opposite too: sound can calm. And all of this is different for each individual. So let’s be reasonable, let’s use headphones, so we don’t force people to hear what we want.

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Our day-to-day living shows that we have been abusing the planet and the entire ecosystem in many ways for a long time. Sound is one more facet that we are beginning to observe. Another example of abuse that we commit without realizing is eating meat. It is the food that contributes most to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado, according to the United Nations (UN). In addition, consuming beef implies raising and killing animals in barbaric ways. What do we do about it? Barbecue on the beach with booming speakers. Two hundred years from now, do you see the planet eating beef as it does today? No… The future is vegan.

In that same perspective, in the future people will no longer allow their ears to be harassed. Abuse happens as our sound space is occupied by others without us allowing it. Excessive volume above healthy limits for the body, excessive repetition of insistent melodies, and information we are not interested in is also a form of abuse.

In advertising, there are infinite examples of sound harassment that practice the premise of infernal repetition “Compre batom, compre batom”, “2696969 Insetisan”, “Quero ver pipoca pular, pular, soy loca por pipoca e Guaraná”. Who deserves to occupy their hard drive without being able to choose the files they want to keep? Another nuisance that provokes negative reactions? The phone that doesn’t stop ringing because brands think it’s cool to bother daily with subjects exclusively of interest to them. Auditory abuse. Excessive advertising on Instagram? People remove. Visual and auditory abuse.

The brand approaches without consent. Invades space. Brands need to stop objectifying their relationship with their audiences. Of wanting them to buy what they have to sell. For starters, the term consumer needs to be replaced by audiences for example, or some word that of the same meaning. If the brand doesn’t take you by the hand, doesn’t involve you, the sale doesn’t take place. If you keep behaving like some guys at the club who pull women by the waist and try to force a kiss, it will only provoke outrage and prolong the abuse. That is, it is in the opposite direction. The brand needs to know who it is to attract its audiences through resonance, compatibility of interests, and the like. Establishing a relationship is about communicating. The origin of the word communication comes from the Latin – communicare which means to make common, to share, to exchange opinions, emission, and reception of information.

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It seems far away, but as everything is happening very fast, as I see the vegan future and it will be a crime to kill an animal, it will also be considered sound abuse to invade the space of others with uncomfortable sounds and performed in an excessively repetitive way. You spend your whole life with a boring chorus in your head occupying your memory, whether you like it or not.

Sound creates life, but it can also injure and kill. There isn’t a tool of war torture more powerful than the repetition of a sound at high volume and there is nothing more heavenly than an engaging and beautiful melody that awakens in us a world of emotions. That’s a lot of potencies to be used irresponsibly.

Affection is everything that affects us. When I talk about the emotions that sound leads, we are talking about the ability of sound to carry within itself the magnetic charge of the person who created the work, with the energies of everyone involved creatively in the process. This sum of information that one audio carry is capable of affecting the other.

In a few decades, I believe that soon, we will be formulating policies for sound, increasingly linked to well-being and collective affection! SARAVAH!

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