Silencity

The Truth About Noise

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At what point does your brain perceive sounds as music?

Psychologist zeros in on when sound becomes music.

Medical Xpress examines the work being done by Adam Greenberg, an assistant professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who is using a type of brain imaging called imaging to study how the brain recognizes and responds to music.  Professor Greenberg found that “some of [the] brain regions that process the basic properties of sound are shared with regions that are involved in processing low-level properties of visual information.”  He adds that the “finding has implications for the kinds of things that we sometimes experience, like when you’re listening to music and you get visual imagery popping into your head or feelings of wanting to dance.”  In short, because the activity of sight and sound regions overlap, “the experience of may be much more than just an auditory phenomenon.”

Link via @HyperacusisCure.

How Background Noise Can Ruin Productivity

and the Gadgets That Can Help.

Open floor plans may excite the finance department, but their effect on worker productivity–and morale–is less than fabulous.  Spare us the noise cancelling headphones, please, and design quieter places where people can do their work.

There’s a new ally in the fight against noise pollution:

The Noise App will help you to make a complaint about your noisy neighbours.  The Standard reports that The Noise App will allow users to make 30-second recordings and apply timestamps and GPS location data so that their local authority has full information about a noise complaint. The recording doesn’t serve as evidence of a noise violation.  Rather, it’s meant to “prove to [the] local authority that noisy neighbours are a problem worth investigating.”  In addition, “[u]nlike the voice recorder on [most] phones, which compresses sound so [there’s no] background noise interfering, The Noise App records uncompressed sound so it picks up everything [the user is] hearing.”

The Noise App sounds like a good and efficient way to take in necessary information to investigate noise complaints while filtering out unreasonable complaints.  Some people obviously agree as one council and five of London’s biggest housing associations have signed up to The Noise App.  Now the important question is this: When will it be coming to the U.S.?  Please?

Link via @QuietMark.

A fascinating look at “sound hunters”:

London, as You’ve Never Heard It Before.

And a question to readers: would you be interested in sound surveys of New York City?  In an effort to broaden the scope of Silencity, we hope to offer a few sound surveys of our own in the coming months.  We will keep you posted.

Technology harnessed to combat noisy neighbors in Northern Ireland:

New app targets noisy neighbours, “permits anyone with a smartphone to record and upload a snapshot of the actual noise nuisance that they are experiencing.”  While there is the possibility of the app being used as a tool of harassment, the Belfast Telegraph reports that “there are inbuilt safeguards within the technology that will provide verification to the council’s investigating officer of the recording’s authenticity and a facility to ‘block’ those who have used the app maliciously.”

Maybe U.S. cities should consider employing technology to help them monitor and respond to noise complaints.  If nothing else, it could help address the frustration suffered by those trying to lodge complaints, as a visit by the police or other authority often comes after the offensive noise has stopped.

Need some white noise to help you sleep? You’re in luck:

White Noise 7 is out, and wants to be like Instagram for restful sounds.

When the White Noise app first went live in 2008, it went from being one of the first mobile apps to go live in the Apple store to the number one app in the fitness and health category.  Eight years later and the White Noise app remains popular and now allows users to upload sounds from around the world.  White Noise 7 is ad-supported, so no cost to download.