This page contains interviews with sensory experts on sound during the COVID19 pandemic. It also includes an evolving bibliography of news media and academic articles on the same topic.
Have an academic article or news piece you think we should include? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shoshana Rosenberg is a butch sound artist and academic currently based in Naarm/Melbourne, Victoria. Their practice explores sonics as they relate to sexuality, divinity, and relationality. You can find out more about/listen to Shoshana’s music at shoshanarosenberg.com and Bandcamp, and academic work at Google Scholar Profile
After a degree in physics, Andrew spent several years in the acoustics engineering and consultancy industry before coming to University College London in 2019 to start his PhD. Andrew’s research focuses on how we can use machine learning and regression modelling of soundscapes – using both sound recordings and surveys of local listeners – to reshape and better design urban spaces.
Martin Stewart was the recipient of the 2018 Blind Australian of the Year award, and the 2019 Blind Citizens Australia David Blyth award, in recognition of his forthright and tenacious advocacy over thirty years, in the areas of Disability Rights, Industrial Relations, Public Transport and Technology Access; and his tireless support for other advocates who are blind or vision impaired.
He is currently a PhD candidate in anthropology at Northwestern University and holds an MA in psychology from The New School.
Key articles – Collating expertise and key links on sound during the pandemic.
- This is what lockdown sounds like – Pete Stollery for The Conversation
A project on sounds of the pandemic
- Sounds from the global Covid-19 lockdown #StayHomeSounds
A website dedicated to recording sounds of the pandemic from across the globe.
- Without commuter traffic, pandemic-era drivers are speeding up, increasing noise pollution – Research from Boston University
Research on the surprising increase in traffic noise during lockdown, and the impact on wildlife.
- Artificial intelligence model detects asymptomatic Covid-19 infections through cellphone-recorded coughs – Jennifer Chu for MIT News Office
Research that suggests recording and analysing the sound of coughs might be a way to screen for COVID-19.
- Sounds from a Pandemic Year
Readers share their sounds of the pandemic: from changing neighbourhood sounds and the humming of the fridge at home to muffled voices behind masks.
- Listen up: In these disquieting COVID-19 times, hushed cities are making a loud impression on our ears
An article discussing how the diminution of urban noise in lockdown has transformed many people in cities into amateur urban acoustic ecologists who are more aware of their soundscapes.
- Soundscapes in the Pandemic
A map of crowdsourced recordings from across the world produced during the course of the pandemic.
- If You Had a Quiet Quarantine, You May Be Sensitive to Sound Right Now
An audiologist explains why lockdowns may have made us more sensitive to the daily sounds that surround us.
- How the Hush of Pandemic Lockdown Changed Wildlife Behavior – Erin Malsbury for Good Times
An article exploring research on mountain lions and songbirds, examining how the ‘anthropause’ of COVID lockdowns produced changes in the soundscape that led to shifts in animal behaviour.
- How to Combat Noise Pollution – Blaine Brownwell for Architect.
An article on how acoustics engineers and scientists are attempting to maintain the drop in noise pollution and its association health impacts in a post-COVID world.
- Open-plan office noise increases stress and worsens mood: we’ve measured the effects – Dr Libby Sander for The Conversation.
This article details how many workers were able to escape the negative impacts of noisy open-plan offices during the pandemic and that people’s tolerance for such work spaces has reduced.
- Dialing it down: How noise pollution has changed during the pandemic – Polina Ptlitsyna for The Ubyssey.
An article that examines the changing fate of noise pollution in Canada during the COVID19 pandemic, noting that in some respects – such as construction work – cities became louder.
- Plenty at stake for NBC as COVID Olympics opening looms – David bauder for Associated Press.
An interesting piece looking at some of the choices broadcast companies had to/will have to make in broadcasting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (in 2021), with NBC foregoing pumped in crowd noise but seeking to capture other sounds that give viewers a sense of ‘being there’ in the venues.
- Will the world be quieter after the pandemic? – Josh Sims for BBC Future.
A piece reflecting on various aspects of the pandemic soundscape, suggesting that people have become more sensitive to noise as a result of the changes released by COVID19 lockdowns.
- In Praise of Noise: The Deafening Silence of the Pandemic – Jennifer Wallis for Headspace.
This article reflects on the fact that people who have experienced the lockdown as a relative absence of noise, producing a silence that leads to people missing the noise of daily life.
- Seismic silence: COVID reduced human sound, underground – Lauree Fagan for Sustainability Times
The relative silence of the world in the wake of lockdown can be measured not just above ground, but below ground through seismographs that detect a world with less vibrations running through it.
- How Tokyo Olympic athletes deal with the loud sounds of silence – David Wharton for the Los Angeles Times
A piece which examines how athletes in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (rescheduled from 2020) have responded to the relative lack of crowd noise and abundance of silence that has accompanied their participation.
- Oh, the noise! How the pandemic sensitized Montrealers to sound – Linda Guylai for Montreal Gazette
A piece outlining how the changing soundscape of Montreal has led people in different parts of the city to become more sensitive to sound – particularly the sounds of air travel as airpots began to ‘reopen’ again.
- ‘Ping’: The Sound of Alarm, From Muskets to Pandemics – Ben Zimmer for the Wall Street Journal
This piece illustrates the history of alarm sounds – and particularly the ‘ping’ sound associated with mobile phone app alerts in the UK – in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Femke Vandenberg, Michaël Berghman and Julian Schaap (2021). The ‘lonely raver’: music livestreams during COVID-19 as a hotline to collective consciousness?, European Societies, 23: sup1, S141-S152. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2020.1818271
- Qian Zhang, Yiu Fai Chow (2021). COVID-19 and sonic governmentality: Can we hear the virus speak?, China Information. https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203X211009417
- Stephen B. Roberts (2021) Listening to lockdown: sound theology in a time of crisis, Practical Theology, 14(1-2): 74-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/1756073X.2020.1859733
- Erica D. Walker (2021). Descriptive characterization of sound levels in an environmental justice city before and during a global pandemic, Environmental Research, 199, August, 111353
- Carina Terry et al. (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on noise pollution in three protected areas in metropolitan Boston (USA), 256, April, 109039.
- María Dolores Redel-Macías et al. (2021). Monitoring Sound and Its Perception during the Lockdown and De-Escalation of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Spanish Study, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(7), 3392.