Author Archive: GMB

Eater’s Updated Guide to What’s Wrong With Restaurants Today

So what is the number one complaint?  You guessed it–noise.  What will the response be from restauranteurs?  If the past is any indication, nothing.  Until people refuse to eat at restaurants that serve a side of tinnitus with their meal, nothing will happen.  We at Silencity believe in voting with your wallet.  If enough people ask that music be lowered or complain to the manager about noise, eventually something will be done.  So be sure to tell the owner or manager why you won’t be returning to their restaurant or why you’ll pass on a table.  And while we wait for restauranteurs to react, go to our sister site, Quiet City Maps, and let them help you find a relatively quiet restaurant, bar, or coffee shop in noisy New York City.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration announces new guidelines on ocean noise,

stating that the guidelines “show NOAA’s commitment to address effects of ocean noise on marine mammals.”

NOAA states that the roadmap “will serve as a guide across NOAA, reviewing the status of the science on ocean noise and informing next steps,” adding that it is “already taking on some of these recommendations, such as the recent launch of an underwater network of acoustic monitoring sensors.”   The focus is on the “approaches that [NOAA] can take with other federal and non-federal partners to reduce how noise affects the species and places we manage,” said W. Russell Callender, assistant NOAA administrator for its National Ocean Service.  Callender continued, “[i]t also showcases the importance that places like national marine sanctuaries have as sentinel sites in building our understanding of ocean noise impacts.”

Let’s hope that the movement from guidance to action is a short one.

Time to paint your face and get ready to have your eardrums blasted:

Crowd noise to be cranked up during Ohio State football practices to prepare for road game. The Columbus Dispatch reports:

Ohio State will be going on the road for the first time this season — against No. 14 Oklahoma — with a lineup loaded with players who have never experienced a hostile crowd.

“It’s a concern,” coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll pump crowd noise in like we normally do. This will probably be one of the loudest stadiums in the country.”

Coach Meyer isn’t bragging about having one of the loudest stadiums in the country, he’s just making a statement of fact.  But the fact that he doesn’t express any concern about the noise level at games–except for whether his players will be able to hear calls–is disturbing.  As is his response to stadium noise: blast crowd noise at his players during practice so they can become acclimated to it.   At what point are coaches, universities, and team owners going to acknowledge that stadium noise is dangerous to hearing?  After an epidemic of hearing loss, tinnitus, or hyperacusis?

Note to attendees: the face paint can be removed, but that ringing in your ears that “went away” after a few hours (or days), that’s a different story.  So if you are going to the game, read up about hidden hearing loss and protect yourself.  Bring ear plugs and leave with your hearing intact.

You’re welcome!

Or he could have just turned down the music and saved a couple of million bucks:

Drake Buys Neighbor’s Home After They Complained About Noise.  I suppose it’s an option when you have more money than god.  A shame all that money can’t buy him new stereocilia after he destroys his hearing.

The destructive power of noise:

ING Bank’s main data center was shut down by a loud noise.  So what exactly happened, you ask?  This:

[ING Bank] was testing an electronics-safe fire suppression system in the main data center, but a pressure discrepancy caused the system to emit a loud noise while expelling inert gas.  According to the bank, the sound was measured a over 130dB — apparently loud enough to knock the HDD’s physical components out of alignment.

130 dB (probably A-weighted or dBA) is not to be sniffed at.  It’s recommended that humans limit exposure at 130 dBA to “under one second.”  If noise measuring 130 dBA is loud enough to knock out a few dozen hard drives, what will it do to you?  It’s time you learned about noise-induced “hidden hearing loss.”

South Pasadena Becomes Nation’s First AGZA Green Zone® City

South Pasedena’s parks and lands are now free of deafening noise and toxic pollution from gas-powered landscape maintenance equipment.

Quiet Communities has announced that South Pasadena has taken the first brave step forward and switched the maintenance of “all 41 acres (!) of municipal lands to advanced electric landscape maintenance equipment and manual tools.”

By transitioning to electric and manual tools, reports Quiet Communities, the city is:

[E]liminating toxic and carcinogenic emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and hazardous waste associated with the use of gas-powered engines including hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides (ground level ozone precursors) fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide.  All are known to contribute to serious health problems and environmental degradation.  Schools, businesses, and parks can be enjoyed as peaceful public spaces.  The new equipment will improve working conditions for grounds crews who will no longer have to expose themselves to deafening noise, harmful emissions, or equipment vibrations.  Residents will enjoy a cleaner, healthier environment and improved quality of life.

Quiet Communities is bringing AGZA Green Zones to the East Coast.  To learn more about creating an AGZA Green Zone, click the link above or contact Quiet Communities at: info@quietcommunities.org.

Noise that can’t be escaped:

Data Proves That Effort To Quiet O’Hare Night Skies Working Only About Half The Time.  DNAinfo.com reports that “[p]lanes landed and took off as promised 57 percent of the time during the first eight weeks of a test to rotate the O’Hare Airport runways used at night to give Northwest Side residents some relief from jet noise.”  Apparently summer storms required air traffic controllers to divert from the plan, not allowing them to use runways that were supposed to keep certain areas quieter.

The reason for the test is that some residents complained that it was “impossible to get an uninterrupted night of sleep since an east-west runway opened in 2013.”  In response, the airport has implemented “voluntary restrictions on nighttime operations at O’Hare, known as Fly Quiet, [which] encourage pilots and air traffic controllers to fly over expressways, industrial areas and forest preserves to reduce the noise over residential areas from 10 p.m.-7 a.m.”  How nice.  And yet:

Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has touted the rotation as a “big breakthrough” in city efforts to reduce the jet noise that prompted more than 4 million complaints in 2015. (emphasis added)

4 million jet noise complaints in one year.

Each element of noise in today’s world apparently stands on its own.  Eventually people will have to recognize that all noise is noise and must be regulated in a fair manner so that people can sleep, think, and function.  Keep an eye on this site, because help is coming.

Something to consider before you buy a house:

Outer Loop noise startles nearby homeowners.

You save money for a deposit, gird yourself as you plunk it down, and, finally, embrace home ownership.  Congratulations!  Sadly, a few years later a stretch of highway that had been planned finally opens and your peaceful home becomes a hellhole.  As the residents of Feyetteville are learning, there are few options, especially for those who purchased homes in neigborhoods that did not predate the planning for the new stretch of road.  Buyer beware.

Dear restaurant owners: we don’t go to your restaurants to listen to music!

Brits complain that minimalist decor and loud music are driving them away from restaurants.  Action on Hearing Loss, a British charity, has conducted a survey in which they found that “90 per cent of people with hearing difficulties felt background noise was the biggest problem they faced when eating out.”  The survey also found that “79 per cent of [respondents] said they had left an establishment early because of the sound levels and 91 per cent of those asked said they wouldn’t go back to a noisy venue.” 

Not mentioned in the article is the theory that restauranteurs deliberately play loud music in an attempt to scare away older customers, since these restauranteurs must all covet a younger crowd that presumably loves stereocilia-destroying music.  If true, they will no doubt ignore the advice offered in the articl to temper the loud volume, but they should not ignore the warning noted in the piece.  Namely, Action on Hearing Loss “is now hoping to develop an app which will allow people to take a decibel recording for restaurants, posting it onto a forum and allowing people to avoid particularly noisy establishments.” 

New Yorkers already have a tool they can use to help them avoid mind-numbingly loud restaurants.  Our sister site, Quiet City Maps, reviews noise levels of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, parks and privately owned public spaces throughout the city.  Click on the link to read the reviews and to check out the map, which shows you the good, the bad, and the ugly with easy to understand color icons.  A mobile app is in the works, so please send any suggestions of (relatively) quiet places their way.

 

This is disturbing:

New Zealand library uses ‘mosquito’ noise device to keep youths away.

Long and short, a New Zealand library installed a noise device because of complaints by (presumably older) customers “about such issues as swearing, abuse, standover tactics and intimidating behaviour.”  The device in question is marketed as an “ultrasonic teenage deterrent” that can be heard by anyone under the age of 25.  Apparently these devices have been used elsewhere because we are told that, “politicians in the UK call[ed] for a ban [of the devices], saying they are discriminatory towards young people, discourage group gatherings and may be harmful to hearing.”  And some children, particularly children with Down’s Syndrome or autism, are more sensitive to noise.

The idea of using weaponized noise to discourage teens from loitering outside a library is absolutely abhorrent.  Yes, some teens revel in anti-social behavior, but as one child’s librarian noted, “I find it very strange they have decided to use this device during opening hours when really we all need be encouraging children to read.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  There must be a better way of discouraging anti-social behavior than treating everyone under the age of 25 years as part of the problem.