Silencity

The Truth About Noise

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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.

 

 

UK charity, Action on Hearing Loss, is taking on extraneous and unnecessary noise:

How to Combat the Background Noise in Restaurants.

The article discusses Action on Hearing Loss’s “Speak Easy” campaign which takes aim at high noise levels in restaurant chains.  The charity conducted a survey of nearly 1,500 people across the UK and found that “eight out of ten people have left a restaurant, cafe or pub early due to noise levels” and that 91% said that they “would not return to a venue they considered to be too noisy.”  Armed with the statistics, the charity “produced a practical guide to help the catering industry improve customer experience levels with noise reduction measures.”  This is a brilliant approach to an often ignored problem.  Kudos to Action on Hearing Loss.

 

Noise can hurt a lot more than your hearing:

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

Can too much noise harm your ears?

Yes, permanently.  Dr. Sharon Sandridge of the Cleveland Clinic notes that one exposure is all it takes to permanently damage your hearing.  She states that, “if you go to a concert, and you say, ‘I’m going to just tough it out,’ and you walk out and your ears are ringing and everything is dull, you’ve done permanent damage at that point.”  Permanent damage for which there is no cure and for which the only treatment is a hearing aid.  Do yourself a favor and use ear plugs whenever and wherever you are around loud noise.

Noise complaints about a city park?

In China, the ‘Noisiest Park in the World’ Tries to Tone Down Rowdy Retirees.

Click the link to read the article, which discusses interesting cutlrual difference between the U.S. and China with respect to parks.  In the U.S. we are more like to see parks as places for quiet enjoyment, whereas parks in China, and certainly the one highlighted in the article, are places where people, often retirees, meet to for collective activities, such as singing and dancing.  It is also interesting to see that older people are the cause of the noise rather than the ones complaining about it.

Thanks to Heather Maloney, @thegalonthego, for the link.

Looks like the worldwide hum has a companion:

Mysterious whistle-like noise from Caribbean Sea is so powerful that it can be heard from space.

The sound, a whistle, is so powerful its vibrations can be picked up from space.  By machines.  Humans can’t hear it because the sound,  at “nearly ’30 octaves below the bottom of a piano,” is beyond human hearing range.

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.”

Hear, hear:

On this July 4th Weekend, A Modest Plea for Less Noise.

Not sure if we would agree with his assessment of why noise is so pervasive, but this bit is dead on:

And noise isn’t simply about volume: it’s about persistence.  It’s about invasiveness.  Think of people who chatter away on Smart phones even as they’re out for a quiet walk along the beach or in the woods. How can you hear the waves or the birds if you’re screaming into a phone? Bits and pieces of conversations I’ve overheard are not about emergencies or even pressing matters; it’s more like, “Guess where I am?  I’m at the beach/concert/top of the mountain!”  Followed by selfies and postings and more calls or texts.

With all these forms of noise, it’s difficult to be in the moment.  It’s even difficult to find a moment.  Also, even in quiet times, people feel pressured to fill the silence with, well, something.  So unaccustomed to quiet are they that they reach for their Smart phones (perhaps to play a noisy video game), or they turn on the TV, or they chatter away even when they have nothing to say. Must avoid “uncomfortable” silences, so we’ve been told.

Have you heard an odd low humming noise?

Well, you are not alone: there’s a weird humming noise that has been heard around the world.

What does this mystery hum sound like? According to Dr. Glen MacPherson:

The classic description is that it sounds like there is a truck idling outside your home. For some people, it is a deep and distant droning bass tone. Some people perceive the sound as a rumbling noise. The sound is louder indoors than outdoors, and louder late at night than during the afternoon. It can suddenly appear or dissappear (sic) for days or months.

For more information about the hum, go to MacPherson’s appropriately named website, The Hum.