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.
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.
No doubt someone may have found the performance annoying–busking is busking whatever the caliber of the performer. That said, there is nothing in the article linked above that suggests that the police were responding to a complaint. That is, it’s unclear whether they saw an opportunity to protect he streets from opera but were provoked into arresting the singer when she refused to shut down her amplified orchestral accompaniment.
Truth be told, we’re torn on who we should support in this story. On the one hand, we would prefer to not be bombarded by amplified sound. On the other, we wonder whether the police are normally as diligent when dealing with noise criminals. Adding that we wish the cops were as vigilant with motorcyclists sporting aftermarket tail pipes as they are with desperate opera singers carrying amplifiers.
The Cult of the Quiet Car. For those of us who have suffered silently (well, except for the passive aggressive throat-clearing) as unthinking monsters shout into their phones during an hour plus train ride, the advent of the quiet car heralded a return to civility, life before mobile phones. All hail the quiet car!
Link via @jeaninebotta.
No doubt you are wondering what goes on at a quiet clubbing event. Good question. According to Crain’s, at a quiet clubbing event partygoers wear “wireless headphones that connect to the music of one of several live DJs, Each headset has a color LED light that indicates which music the wearer is listening to. The atmosphere is clublike, with strobe lights and booze, but the noise level is lower.”
While we applaud the desire to lower noise levels, we can’t get the image out of our heads of a roomful of people dancing and singing along to different playlists in an otherwise quiet room. And what about those who think that quiet clubbing is antisocial? The former banker/current club diva disagrees, stating that quiet clubbing is “the opposite of antisocial because unlike a traditional club, people can take off their headphones and actually have a normal conversation without screaming at the person standing next to them.” Finally, a solution to the problem of trying to have a conversation in a club!
That said, taken to its logical conclusion, and thanks to virtual reality, soon anyone can throw a quiet clubbing party in his or her own apartment. Just grab a pair of VR googles, put on your 3D headphones, and dance with yourself and your virtual friends.
Thanks to Charles Shamoon for the link.
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 functional magnetic resonance 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 music may be much more than just an auditory phenomenon.”
Link via @HyperacusisCure.
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.
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.
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.
We would rather not. And Nigel Rodgers, a Brit with a mission, agrees. Which is why Rodgers has formed Pipedown, an organization that attempts to persuade retailers, airports, and other businesses to stop playing piped music in their public spaces. Read about Nigel’s campaign in Pipedown. Please.
Link via Quiet Edinburgh.