Quality of Life

A common lament:

Dyckman’s deafening daily drumbeat: A local resident is sick of the noise.

Ann Votaw writes about New Yorker’s number one complaint: noise.   Trying to understand out how to stop the noise in her neighborhood, she contacted Arline Bronzaft, a leading environmental psychologist who advised five mayors on the consequences of noise pollution, who stated that “[n]o other city in the United States is more aware of intrusive sound than New York.”  Ms. Bronzaft lauded the city’s 311 system, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the police department “for their dedication to the New York City Noise Code,” she acknowledged that 311 was effective at collecting metrics but was unsure of “how the system executes solutions leading to relief.”

New York City’s Noise Code and 311 system are good steps in combating noise pollution, but the focus must shift to enforcing the code and punishing offenders.  Until noise polluters understand that there are consequences for their actions, they will continue to make life hellish for those around them.

Thanks to Daniel Fink, M.D., a noise pollution activist in the Los Angeles area, for the link.  Dr. Fink serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association and is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council.

Sure, noise is detrimental to health, but is there a health benefit to silence?

Short answer?  Maybe.

To learn more about the early research on silence and health, read How Prolonged Exposure to Sweet, Blessed Silence Benefits the Brain.

This would have been great if you were a Beyonce fan:

Beyonce gig was heard eight miles away.

But not so much if you’re not a fan.

Q: If the concert can be heard eight miles away, what is the sound system doing to the ears of the concert goers?

A: Invest in hearing aid companies.  Sadly, that will be a growth industry.

Efforts to expedite airplane noise studies for JFK and LaGuardia airports:

Schumer urges Port Authority to expedite noise studies addressing “airplane noise being emanated over the communities closest to John F. Kennedy International Airport on the South Shore of Queens such as the Five Towns and several others, and LaGuardia Airport on the North Shore of the borough.”

No surprise here:

.Noise Complaints Rising In New York City.

New York City has a noise code [pdf warning].  It’s pretty comprehensive and is looked to as a model for other cities.  So why the rise in noise complaints?  One reason the article notes is this: Police said writing noise complaint tickets is to an officer’s discretion.

Police probably do not have the training and equipment to properly monitor noise complaints, and noise is probably low on the priority list.  If cities are going to seriously address noise pollution, they need to have a designated team of professionals to investigate noise complaints and issue citations.  Until that happens statutes will rarely be enforced and noise polluters will continue unabated.

Live under a flight path? Concerned about the effect of aircraft noise on your health?

So are a handful of members of congress serving Massachusetts, who “are calling on the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study about the health effects of air traffic noise and pollution on humans.”

The request for more research follows on the heels of a five-fold increase in aircraft noise complaints with the Massachusetts Port Authority.  Citing a joint public health 2013 study by Harvard University and Boston University showing a link between exposure to aircraft noise and cardiovascular disease, the request asks for research on the health impacts from noise and jet emissions, such as carbon dioxide.

 

 

Noise can hurt a lot more than your hearing:

Too much noise: Bad for your ears and your heart.

Quiet fireworks? Must be an oxymoron, no? No:

Oh, Say, Can You See (but Not Hear) Those Fireworks?

Why would someone want quiet fireworks, you may ask?  Pet owners know that cats and particularly dogs can be adversely affected by fireworks, but humans are at risk as well:

For people, loud fireworks can lead to hearing loss. The World Health Organization lists 120 decibels as the pain threshold for sound, including sharp sounds such as thunderclaps. Fireworks are louder than that.

“They’re typically above 150 decibels, and can even reach up to 170 decibels or more,” said Nathan Williams, an audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Nebraska.

Dr. Williams also sees higher traffic to his clinic after Independence Day. “We usually see a handful of people every year,” he said. “In these cases, hearing loss is more likely to be permanent.”

And Dr. Williams added that children are more vulnerable to hearing loss from fireworks because they have more sensitive hearing.  So if you are going to a fireworks display this weekend, enjoy it safely and bring ear plugs for the whole family.

Thanks to Daniel Fink, M.D., a noise pollution activist in the Los Angeles area, for the link.  Dr. Fink serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association and the Health Advisory Council of Quiet Communities.

City of Santa Maria, California knows how to address July 4th noise:

Signs available for noise sensitive residents on 4th of July.

And before someone complains about having to accommodate those sensitive to noise, consider who may be at risk.  As KSBY.com reports, “[t]he signs are intended for veterans with PTSD, people with autism, owners of pets, and others with noise sensitivity.”