Sound Intel (Volume I)

Recent Observations

When is loud, too loud?

The world is getting louder, and we find ourselves bombarded by growing sound levels day after day: Traffic sound levels, the sound of construction work, dogs barking, loud music.

Increasing sound levels cause friction in many ways, and since the way sounds are perceived is individual, there is no true fixed value for determining what we experience as noise. Yet as soon as a particular sound reaches a volume that irritates people, it is referred to as noise, and these will most often manifest themselves as noise complaints and lawsuits. While some of this friction is being addressed by product innovations, and others by social movements, we have to ask ourselves when we start to see products brought to market like the new "Bose Hearphones™" when do we say this is just too loud.

In the News

  • October is National Protect Your Hearing Month: "Did you know that sounds that are too loud for too long can damage your hearing permanently? The louder the noise, the faster it can damage your hearing. This October, during National Protect Your Hearing Month, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) encourages everyone to learn about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and steps you can take to prevent it."

  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute: "Air pollution and noise increase risk for heart attacks."

  • Noise: The other pollution hurting our health: "(CNN)One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to noise levels that could "significantly" damage their health, the World Health Organization says, and it updated guidelines on those levels in Europe on Tuesday."

  • New WHO noise guidelines for Europe released: "Noise pollution in our towns and cities is increasing, blighting the lives of many European citizens."