Right to Quiet Society – Home Page – listening to Sounds Like Canada this morning and they were talking about sound pollution, something that bugs me infinitely. The link goes to a website they mentioned, for what may be the most prominent organization advocating for non-insanity on the matter. Non-insanity, of course, being defined as agreeing with me.
There are a huge number of noise problems, so I will mention some that are bugging me at the moment.
Problem unawareness – the fact that many don’t even realize that this is a problem is a problem in itself. People tend to think of tangible pollutants, and discount sound and others. Reminds me of the song Garbage.
Public music obligatoriness – restaurants, malls, stores, elevators, gyms, etc. all feel the need to be playing music 100% of the time. I suspect people buy more than they otherwise would, what with being unable to actually think things through on account of the noise. I would say that it is okay for some of these places to play music sometimes, but none of them should be playing music all the time.
The number of places where one can not have to listen to music is quite sad. I managed to forget my goggles when swimming on Saturday, meaning I kept my head above water for most of the hour-long swim. It wasn’t until then that I realized how insanely they blast music in there. A pool is a noisy place already, what with the echoing. Even good music sounds terrible at the volume they have to keep it at to hear it.
I really do not understand the concept of a restaurant or other venue in which one cannot actually hear anyone. Do people not go out to, you know, talk to each other?
Excessive volume – almost all the movies I have been to in theatres lately have been deafening. Literally painful to the ears to start with. I suppose we are on a very bad cycle these days: people listen to music/tv/etc. so loudly that they ruin their hearing, and thus much listen to things even louder, thus worsening the hearing of those and those around them, thus necessitating louder volumes…
On the subway, I can’t listen to my mp3 player, as I am not willing to turn it as loud as need to be heard over the subway itself, which is very loud. And yet I can still hear the music from the headphones of people sitting across from me. I have the maximum volume on my iPod set to a mere third of its potental maximum volume. It is hard to believe that these people will not need hearing aids quite early in life. To be fair, I do have an American iPod; it is different elsewhere thanks to the less-unenlighted France having maximum volume laws.
Noise from unnecessary tools – another thing mentioned on the radio show was leaf blowers. To me this fits into the category of tools that have no advantage over manual means (ever see anyone spend five minutes trying to move a single leaf with a leafblower?), yet produce a ton of noise.
Jarring sounds – if there has to be noise, it should stop, start, and change gradually. Abrupt changes in sound are just a bad idea, screwing up your scenses, just like lots of sharp scene changes in video.
I will have to check out quite.org now.