Noise complaints show people prefer peace and quiet

Photo credit: @svetjekolem

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

As a long-term researcher and writer on the adverse effects of noise pollution on mental and physical health and the positive impacts of quiet, I was delighted to read the title of the Belfast Telegraph News opinion piece, “Rising number of noise complaints show we prefer the peace and quiet.” The author notes that noise complaints have risen considerably this past year, especially in the urban city of Belfast. In looking for an explanation for the rise in noise complaints, the article hypothesizes that with more people working at home, they are now able to hear daytime distractions which they would not have been exposed to before the COVID pandemic. The author also opines that there are now more home parties and fewer celebrations at outside venues and this may also contribute to the rise in noise complaints..

I was pleased to read in the article that engaging in noise activities demonstrates a lack of respect for others. However, there is no further discussion linking the “making of noise” to a “lack of respect.” Thus, I would suggest looking at an article that I have written on noise and respect.

The article ends with the author being surprised that several people complained about noisy ice cream vans. Had the author been familiar with New York noise surveys, they would have read about the many complaints that are made about stationary ice cream trucks playing loud music.

Again, I would like to say that I hope that the greater awareness that COVID brought to the issue of sound, noise, and quiet will continue as the pandemic lessens because we need this greater awareness to lower the decibel level in our communities.

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