Is anyone listening? Can anyone hear me?

Photo credit: cottonbro studio

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

When you speak in person, you know if people are paying attention to what you are saying. If you are speaking on a Zoom meeting, that isn’t as clear. And if your write an article that is published in a scientific journal, some journals report online views and some don’t. The Google search engine and some scientific journals also track how many times an article is cited in other scientific articles.

Why am I writing about this? When I became a noise activist, I quickly realized that my efforts to find a quiet restaurant in which to enjoy the meal and the conversation with my wife were doomed to failure when noise was defined solely as “unwanted sound” and “everybody knew” that 85 A-weighted decibels was a safe noise level, which it never was. So my publications and advocacy have been focused largely on those two topics, with occasional forays into related topics.

Google reports that at least some people are citing what I write. My 2017 editorial about the safe noise level in the American Journal of Public Health has been cited 81 times. My 2019 article about a new definition of noise has been cited 21 times.

A short while ago, I learned that two of my articles in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, an open access journal published by the Acoustical Society of America, are among the top 3 most downloaded from 2017-2019. The “new definition of noise article” has been downloaded 3,876 times, and my article on the disability right aspects of noise has been downloaded 10,639 times.

I can’t really answer the questions I posed in the title of this blog post, but at least someone is downloading what I write.

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