Monthly Archive: April 2016

Hearables are the new star in the wearables world:

These wireless earbuds let you control which outside sounds to block.

If these catch on maybe people will consider that the better option is to control and limit noise for the general public rather than manage it one person at a time.

City noise pollution

Harvard student mapped Boston’s noise pollution by neighborhood.

Bostom.com reports:

Erica Walker, a student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is trying to figure out how all that noise might be affecting its residents. In doing so, she’s discovered that not all sounds in Boston are created equal. Nor are all neighborhoods.

In order to better determine the Boston soundscape, she “started exploring the city at large with a boom mic and a mission: to better understand the distribution of noise in Boston.”  In the process, Walker also learned that “each neighborhood revealed its own unique noise structure.”

Walker will be issuing report cards detailing the soundscape of each neighborhood in September, giving Boston residents “the opportunity to find out precisely what might be keeping them up at night, or causing that perpetual migraine, or making them restless.”   And that, Walker hopes, is when change may come.   “I don’t think these cities will ever be [completely] quiet,” she said. “But they can be less loud.”

 

A chilling reminder that exposure to loud noise can lead to more than hearing loss

David Sikorski, senior editor at Earmilk, an online music publication, has written a must read piece for anyone who loves to listen to live music: Tinnitus, Suicides & Earplugs: Don’t be an idiot.  Sikorski states that as senior editor he has “issued a full mandatory requirement for any of our writers to wear earplugs when attending/reviewing any concert or festival on our behalf.”  Why?  Here’s his answer:

Over 700 million people around the world suffer from some form of Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. This recent flood of self-induced hearing damage from oversized studio headphones, grandiose speaker systems and silly notions carried over from ill-advised past generations – equating decibel levels to enjoyment – have created a music industry epidemic.

When it happens, it just happens. You’ll leave the vibrating walls of the after hours spot, that divey “rock n’ roll night club” or even after maxing the sub in your car to peep Slime Season 3. Suddenly, the ringing in your ear, that used to be temporary isn’t.

And yes, though rare, for some people plagued with tinnitus the “ringing in their ears becomes [so] unbearable, that death becomes the only relief.”

So how do you balance your love of live music with the need to protect your hearing?  Sikorski suggests earplugs.  We would add that musicians and music venues need to consider what they can do to stop the permanent damage they are inflicting on fans.

Thanks to Hyperacusis Research Limited for the link.  Hyperacusis Research Limited is a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatment.

How Loud is Too Loud?

Do you go out to clubs or concerts?  Then this information is for you: How loud is loud?

Plug ’em is a British Tinnitus Association campaign that “aims to encourage wearing earplugs at gigs, festivals, clubs – basically anywhere you’re exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels.”  They simply want to save millions of people from the pain and frustration of tinnitus and other hearing injuries.  How?  By educating the public about the dangers of loud noise, removing the stigma about wearing ear plugs, and encouraging bars and other venues playing loud music to give patrons free ear plugs.

No one is telling you not to go out to enjoy live music.  Protect your ears so you can enjoy live music your entire life.

The distracting effects of noise on animals:

What prairie dogs tell us about the effects of noise pollution.  The short answer:

With increasing levels of man-made noise in the environment, animals are having to contend more and more with external stimuli which can draw their attention away from these key tasks. And the consequences of failing to focus on lurking dangers can be deadly.

And for those who wonder why we should worry about the effects of noise pollution on prarie dogs, there is this:

At the end of the day, every species has a finite attention span and, depending upon the source of disturbance and the task at hand, can get distracted. In an increasingly noisy world, this will no doubt have implications for other animals as well as humans.

Noise pollution effects health and well-being.  A discussion about controlling the noise around us is long past due.

Coming to a film festival near you?

THE FILMMAKERS RECOMMEND YOU WEAR HEADPHONES TO VIEW THIS TRAILER:

More of this, please:

UK Supermarket to Offer Quiet Hour for Customers Who Hate Noisy Supermarkets.

The UK Asda chain is trying out a quiet hour at one store in Manchester.  During this hour, escalators will be stopped and display TVs and music will be turned off.  According to store manager Simon Lea, “the sixty minutes of silence was aimed at autistic shoppers who struggle with loud noises – but the idea has also been welcomed by thousands of locals fed up with the constant racket in supermarkets.”

We hope this is a huge success and that Asda’s example encourages other businesses to follow suit.

Link via QuietEdinburgh.

As if you needed another reason to ask for the music to be lowered:

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Can Your Ears Help Control Your Stomach?  According to a recent study, it looks like the answer is yes:

In one paper, marketing professors at Brigham Young and Colorado State universities asked 71 volunteers to eat a snack of pretzels while wearing over-the-ear headphones. Some volunteers were subjected to loud white noise from the headsets as they ate, while a second group heard quieter noise.

The result? Those listening to the loud noise consumed 49% more pretzels than those listening to the quieter noise. The findings suggest, according to the researchers, that the sound you make while eating is an important cue to how much you’re taking in. Listening to loud noise evidently made it harder to know when to stop, implying that dieters might want to turn down the music while dining.

Interestingly, the paper was the work of marketing professors.  No doubt the findings will be used by restaurant owners to crank up the volume even higher.

 

Yet another reason to ban electric hand dryers:

Dyson Airblades ‘spread germs 1,300 times more than paper towels’.  That said, the study only looked at Dyson Airblades and not other electric hand dryers, like the Xcelerator, which may spread viruses more effectively while assaulting your hearing.  Use a paper towel.

Thanks to Hyperacusis Research Limited for the link.  Hyperacusis Research Limited is a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatment.

The Philly Voice asks:

How do earbuds damage your hearing?

Philly Voice reporter Brandon Baker posed this question Linda Ronis-Kass, an audiologist at Penn Medicine Washington Square, “for an explanation of how listening to music at a high volume through earbuds can cause hearing loss — and potentially more.”  It’s an interesting read, particularly for those of you who like to pop in your earbuds and crank the volume up (don’t!!).

Thanks to Hearing Health Foundation for the link.