Noise: The Defining Sounds From Human History

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History is visual: You can see a photo from a century ago, visit a room filled with artifacts, and even gaze at paintings in an ancient cave where humans stood 30,000 ago.

But what would it sound like to live in those times?

David Hendy has a good idea. He is a professor of media and communication at the University of Sussex, and he's in love with noise—but not in the way you might think.

Hendy is not interested in noise as mere meaningless din, but noise as a form of media conveying the meaning of a time, like when the world entered the industrial age. When listening farther back in time, one can see that the sound of bells ringing was a tool for the church of the Middle Ages to exert its power over daily life.

Hendy is the author of "Noise: A human History of Sound and Listening," and produced an accompanying series for BBC Radio. He joins The Takeaway to discuss noise as a vital part of our history.