Turns out that there’s a scientific reason for that! Short answer: Snow is a good sound absorber. Click the link for a slightly longer explanation.
In light of the recent study linking traffic noise to an increased risk of acquiring dementia, this article is a must read: How To Reduce Noise Pollution At Home.
Of course, one would hope that governments would think about how best to limit noise after reading that frightening study. The medical costs alone should be enough to motivate even the most dispassionate bean counter. But until they do, we really must take matters into our own hands and try to make our homes as peaceful and noise free as possible.
Link via @QuietMark.
Orosound’s ‘noise-managing’ earphones hush unwanted sounds. While we appreciate tech startups that focus how we can manage noisy environments, we can’t help but to point out the obvious: Instead of developing gadgets that allow people to limit the noise invading their personal soundscape, why not limit the noise at its source? Just a thought.
Until that happens–in our lifetimes, one hopes–we will report on the products and services you can use to keep unwanted sound at bay and control the soundscape of your slice of the world.
New Study Chimes In: “Yes.” If you have ever spent any time in a hospital, whether as a visitor or especially as a patient, you probably wondered how the patients sleep with the constant din caused by monitors, particularly the alarms. The answer, apparently, is “they can’t.” While some sort of alarm is needed to alert staff when a patient is having a crisis, Anesthesiology News reports that “[t]he overabundance and high volume of hospital alarms can have deleterious effects on patients and providers, impairing clinician performance and possibly compromising patient safety (citation omitted).” The good news? The study’s author found that “clinician performance is maintained with alarms that are softer than background noise.”
Coming soon to a hospital near you: A good night’s rest!
Start your day quietly at The Museum of Modern Art, the first Wednesday of every month. See your favorite works from MoMA’s collection and take in select new exhibitions, all without the crowds. For these specially priced early hours, we encourage visitors to take time to look slowly, clear your head, silence your phones, and get inspiration for the day and week ahead.
As if a quiet visit at MoMa wasn’t enough, the museum includes “a drop-in meditation space… with guided meditation sessions closing out each morning from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.” Quiet Mornings begin at 7:30 a.m. Admission is free for members and (quiet) children, $12 for adults, and reduced pricing for seniors and students. Only a limited number of tickets will be available in advance online, with the rest sold on the morning of the event, first come, first sold.
Trees. Dean Fosdick, Associated Press, writes that “landscape designers in cities are creating quieter living spaces by using trees to mute loud noises like sirens and air brakes.” The practice is called “‘soundscaping,’ and it aims to restore peaceful, natural sounds like wind whispering through leaves, birds chirping or rain dripping from branches.” Click the link to learn more.
This Telegraph article is less about quiet at Christmas and more about quiet as a cultural phenomenon. Reporter Louisa Pritchard writes that we are “in the throes of a quiet revolution that could impact every area of our lives: a move towards (whisper it) cultivating the sound of silence.” We believe she’s right and that 2016 marks the beginning of a movement in which quiet is seen as something that is valuable. Here’s to a quieter world.
Thanks to @QuietMark for the link.
Read this National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) review first: So How Accurate Are These Smartphone Sound Measurement Apps?
Scroll to the end of the blog post for a November 2016 update to NIOSH’s initial 2013 study.
Action on Hearing Loss launched Speak Easy, its campaign that asked restaurants, cafes, and pubs “to take noise off the menu,” this past summer. Last week, the organization announced that its free Speak Easy Campaign Pack is available to the public. The pack includes:
- Discreet, supportive materials to hand over to staff or leave with your bill.
- Ideas for sending effective feedback.
- A thumb prop for expressing your views on social media.
Action on Hearing Loss understands that “[r]epeat customers are the lifeblood of restaurants, cafes and pubs,” and that millions of people would like to enjoy a meal or drink out at a quieter venue. Rather than waiting for places to discover this underserved market, they are giving Brits the tools they need to demand quieter options.
Although there isn’t a similar campaign in the U.S.–yet–readers who live or work in New York City can find quieter venues by visiting our sister site, Quiet City Maps, which reviews and rates the noise level and comfortability of New York City restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and more. Whether you’re at your desk planning a night out with friends, or on your smart phone looking for a nearby quiet place, Quiet City Maps can help you quickly find the perfect place to eat, drink, and have a conversation!
TechRepublic writes about the “new study from Oxford Economics [that] claims that open office floor plans can hurt employee productivity” in a piece titled, “Here’s how to design the best office for your employees.” And once again we are compelled to respond as follows: When will this assault on employee productivity and morale end? Why can’t *they* bring back private work spaces?
It seems clear that nothing will be done until the bean counters can quantify the enormous costs of open plan offices. No doubt part of the problem is that it’s hard to put a dollar figure on employee distraction, frustration, and decreased morale. But one thing is clear, the absolute raft of articles on how much employees hate open plan offices indicates that they are a problem that needs to be solved or redesigned or otherwise dealt with. One day some newly minted management genius will rediscover pre-open plan office design, repackage it slightly, and give it a new name, and after the applause dies down, *they* will follow.