NPR reports on a recent study published in the journal Child Development that found that “loud background noise may make it harder for toddlers to learn language.” NPR adds that “[m]any other studies have already found that background noise can limit children’s abilities to learn. Television noise, in particular, is ubiquitous in American homes and may negatively affect a child’s ability to concentrate.”
And there’s more. Click the first link for the full story.
Worrying About Noise In The Sultry Season. Joanna Weiss reflects on the sounds of summer and asks, “where is the line drawn, when someone’s joy is someone else’s nuisance.”
Link via @jeaninebotta.
The short answer is “yes,” theoretically. The long answer, thankfully, is that “it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to artificially generate a noise loud enough to kill a person.” Wondering how loud a sound must be to kill and how sound alone could kill a human? Here are your answers:
[I]’s been speculated that 195 decibels would do the trick. (By comparison, normal conversation registers at 60 dB; an ambulance siren at 10 feet is about 115 dB). At that volume, air pressure fluctuations would be severe enough to damage your lungs, creating lethal air bubbles in the blood or simply causing the lungs to pop like balloons.
Now you know what your nightmare will feature tonight!
Link via @QuietMark.
Link via @jeaninebotta.
In “Why City Noise Is a Serious Health Hazard,” Eric Jaffe writes about noise in New York City. His piece extensively quotes Craig Kasper, chief audiologist at New York Hearing Doctors, who notes how persistent noise complaints have been, citing a 1905 headline in the Times claiming New York to be “the noisiest city on earth.” Kasper also discusses all of the ways in which noise adversely affects health and wellbeing (e.g., loss of sleep, anxiety, cardiovascular difficulties, etc.), adding that his patients “complain of loud restaurants the most.” Oddly, this otherwise thoughtful piece concludes with Kasper stating that “noise adds to the charm of New York—and, really, any big city.” It’s hard to accept that something as potentially damaging as noise can be described as charming. Still, this short piece is worth a read.
Dr. Brian Goldman discusses the significant health problems caused by noise in hospitals, which has increased since 1960–200% for daytime noise, and an astounding 400% for nighttime noise. He also addresses the inventive ways hospitals have tried to limit noise exposure, including design changes, instituting quiet hours for napping, and making all rooms private rooms. Click the link for more.
Broadway World writes about the Theater Development Fund (TDF), a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, makes autism-friendly theater available through its Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI), which operates under the umbrella of TDF’s Accessibility Programs. How does the TDF make theater “autism friendly?” Broadway World explains:
To create an autism-friendly setting, the shows are performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production will include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. In the theatre lobby there will be staffed quiet and play areas, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance.
For more information about the ATI or to order tickets for autism-friendly performances, click here.
Thanks to Jenn Leonard for the link.
Read this fascinating piece by Olga Khazan about researchers who found that children who lived on lower floors in a high-rise building near a highway in Manhattan had a harder time distinguishing words than kids living on higher floors and they were worse at reading. Frighteningly, “[t]he relationship between the kids’ scores and floor level was strongest for the kids who had lived in the building the longest.”
Noise is more than an annoyance when it can interfere with learning.