Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Winter 2012, page 6

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more likely to develop dementia than a person with normal hearing, while those with moderate hearing loss had a threefold increase and those with mild hearing loss were twice as likely. Stated another way, for every 10dB of hearing loss, the risk of dementia increased by about 20 per cent.

In the paper the researchers caution that they have identified an association, and it is not clear if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between hearing loss and dementia. “A number of mechanisms may be theoretically implicated in the observed association between hearing loss and dementia,” Dr. Lin said. It is possible that dementia may be over-diagnosed in individuals with hearing

loss, or those with cognitive impairment may be over-diagnosed with hearing loss. The two conditions may also share an underlying neuropathological process.

Another theory is that social isolation - and the reduction in sensory activity that follows - of those with hearing loss may exacerbate symptoms of dementia. The researchers noted that those who used hearing aids saw no reduction in their risk of dementia. Approximately 500,000 Canadians are currently living with Alzheimer’s and related types of dementia, and that number is expected to exceed 1.1 million within a generation. Dementia cost the Canadian economy about $15-billion last year, and that number is expected to soar to $153-billion by 2038.

Heating sounds hamper classroom learning

“Student test scores can suffer negative effects from subtle classroom noise, such as the humming of the air-conditioning and heating systems, researchers say,” reports United Press International. “In a study of classrooms presented at the 162nd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Grade 5 students were found to have lower reading test scores in classrooms with higher background noise. The culprit was not nearby traffic noises or

occasional outbursts from unruly students, researchers found, but the almost unnoticeable yet constant drone of heating and air-conditioning units, a release from the American Institute of Physics said Monday.”

Article source

Winning idea inspired by noise

A cabal of cacophonic college kids inspired Shahriar Af-shar to become an entrepreneur. It was 2004, and the physicist was serving as a visiting professor at a college, temporarily residing in the dorms. “It was summer, and the kids loved playing video games and listening to loud mu-sic, which shook the whole building. At the time I was in a fierce fight with colleagues, and writing response papers to their critiques of my work, and had to find a way to allow the kids to enjoy their games without shaking me out of my wits!”

Afshar “gave it a few hours of thought” and came up with a winning idea that would give people the opportunity to essentially “feel” the sensations of video games and music without the noise. The device, which he named KOR-fx, and around which he eventually formed the company Immerz, Inc., is worn over the chest and uses haptic feedback.

Pulses from the apparatus “sync” up with audio waves, sending low-frequency vibrations into the chest cavity, giving the user the sensation of “rain, wind, bomb blasts, or the quaking of T-Rex’s footsteps in Jurassic Park,” according to a recent article in Delta Sky Magazine. In addition, the unit allows users to feel the bass line in music without “cranking up the stereo.” KOR-fx debuted to rave reviews at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, and has been featured in Popular Science and Cnet as a way to experience music, television, and gaming in “4-D”. “Frustration was indeed the mother of this particular invention,” writes Afshar, who still holds a faculty position at Rowan University.

APS article


Two petitions worth supporting:

1) An effort to address horn honking used to "confirm" that a vehicle is locked, unlocked, armed, or disarmed, part of the remote keyless system (RKS) and more

2) Need to change the Local Government Act of B.C. to say an “individual” instead of “individuals” and we also need to change the word “persons” to “any person”. Petition site

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