Background noise can affect the way people taste food. Louder noise tends to make foods seem less salty or sweet, and it increases the perception of crunchiness. Researchers postulate that this might be one of the reasons that airplane food is notorious for tasting bland, despite the fact that it is heavily seasoned.
More facts about the effects of noise:
- Besides dampening the taste of food, loud noise can also decrease the perception of pain. This is why some doctors recommend that patients who have chronic pain listen to a white noise generator for several hours a day.
- The type of noise can affect the way that people perceive foods as well. More pleasant mixes of background noise enhance the flavor of food, and annoying noises make food seem less flavorful.
- Many other factors affect the taste of food as well, including the lighting in which it is eaten, the temperature of the food — for instance, taste buds are most receptive around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) — and even food color.