To our members who reside in the U.S.A.:
Anti-noise groups are lobbying for the reinstatement of the Office of Noise Abatement and Control at the Environmental Protection Agency. This invaluable resource was eliminated during the Reagan Administration. Please write the President, and your Senators and Members of Congress in support of this goal.
Hearing Problems Striking Baby Boomers
For most of her 22 years as an audiologist, Tomi Browne's clients have been overwhelmingly older - people pushing 70 and beyond.
Lately, her baby-boom contemporaries in their 40s and early 50s have been showing up at her office, confessing that they strain to catch the conversation in restaurants or meetings, or that the TV suddenly needs to be turned higher. Loud sounds hurt their ears, and some say they've noticed an incessant buzzing.
Some walk out with the startling news that they've permanently lost hearing. More than a few return to get fitted for hearing aids.
From 1971 to 1990, problems among people aged 45 to 64 jumped 26 per cent, while the 18 to 44 age group reported a 17 per cent increase.
The main culprit, many suspect, is noise - not just the noise from the headsets that seem permanently attached to teenagers but the noise from their parents' surround- sound stereos, which can rival small recording studios. Add the barrage to movie- goers' ears during films such as Armageddon and Godzilla as well as the blast from leaf blowers, mowers, personal watercraft, power tools, even vacuum cleaners.
For the estimated 28 million Americans with a hearing loss, noise is a leading cause, experts say. Once that would have traced back to the din of mills and factories, but federal regulations have helped protect workers in industrial settings. Now it's more the hours away from work that are the problem.
For those readers with Internet access, our allies in Toronto at Noisewatch have a most informative website.
Pipedown is a British organization dedicated solely to countering the insidious spread of piped music into public soundscapes.
In 1994, Pipedown won a major victory at Gatwick Airport by helping persuade the management to carry out an acoustic survey. Of the 68,077 people questioned, more disliked than liked piped music, which has since been discontinued! The organization has been instrumental in keeping piped music out of other commercial areas, and wants to see it banned from all public areas such as hospitals, rail and bus stations, doctors' and dentists' offices, public libraries(!), gyms and swimming pools. A bill to this effect has recently been presented in the British Parliament.
Pipedown maintains that, despite persistent beliefs to the contrary, there is no impartial evidence to show that piped music increases retail sales by one penny.
For a wealth of further information on the subject visit Pipedown.
Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Spring 2000
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