“Our study confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised," Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science at Cornell, said in a press release. "Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced. The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”
As TIME reported, the researchers asked 48 men and women to sample liquids with five different flavor profiles -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami -- in a room with your everyday ambient noise, or in a room with loud, simulated airplane cabin noise. While they perceived sweetness as less sweet and umami as more pronounced in the loud room, the participants didn't indicate any major differences in the flavor of the sour, bitter, and salty samples.