Research from both the laboratory and restaurants shows that factors like acoustics, background music and noise levels affect our perception of what we eat and drink. We simply can’t ignore it. The latest research shows that loud noise suppresses our ability to taste sweetness and saltiness, while other studies show that the background buzz in airplanes actually enhances the taste of umami (one of the five basic tastes).
Of course, when we look at taste, we don't mean just sweet, sour, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. All the fruity, the floral, the herbal, the meaty – all the exciting stuff in the taste – is really coming from our sense of smell, which is also influenced by sound. For example, we know that a loud noise impairs our ability to taste fruit.