Easy Listening:

Some members might recall when radio provided music rather than noise, and rhyming vocals rather than repetitive guttural-like expressions. Those who enjoyed the likes of Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, The Andrews Sisters, Glen Miller, etc. may wish to know of Vancouver's best kept secret - they're all back again on CKBD (previously known as CJOR) 600 on AM. Check it out - if you are pleased, let the station know, because purveyors of such good material need all the support they can get in competing with today's "in-your-face" programming.

Vibroacoustics Syndrome

The following is an abstract of a presentation on the deleterious health effects of low frequencies entitled, "Boom Cars: Noise Pollution at its Worst." The research was presented December 7, 2000 by Daniel Raichel, <draichel@worldnet.att.net>, Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, NY, USA:

Boom cars, sometimes referred to as "boomers," are vehicles that have stereo sound equipment installed specifically to generate excruciatingly loud sound levels. Because the market is so lucrative, particularly among automobile owners under 30 years of age, manufacturers aggressively engage in promotion of ultra-high power amplifiers, auxiliary bass drivers, midrange drivers, tweeters, crossovers, etc. The typical boomer enthusiast is identified as usually being male under the age of thirty, in the middle or lower socio-economic stratum, with little education beyond high school level. Boomer systems are usually operated at levels that generate a high degree of annoyance in residential neighborhoods, which constitutes a problem of increasing proportions. Loudness competitions are held, and levels as high as 170 dB have been reported. Much advertising emphasizes loudness - for example, a TV spot shows a van's sound system shattering store windows as it speeds down a street. Quality of sound reproduction, i.e., high fidelity, rarely figures prominently in the setup of a boom system.

Contrary to boom car enthusiasts' popular belief that intense low frequencies would not harm hearing (program contents are often devoid of higher frequencies), medical research has proven that "feeling" the music can lead to physiological trauma, causing disruptions of proper bodily functions and even resulting in death.

Castelo Branco, M.D. of the Center for Human Performance in the Neurological Services of Capchos Hospital in Lisbon conducted major research on the deleterious effects of high intensity sound on humans, and this led to the concept of "vibroacoustics syndrome" by J.J. Guignard in 1992. The research has indicated occurrences of visual problems, epilepsy, stroke-type neurological deficiencies and psychic disturbances (e.g., anxiety, depression, and hostile behavior). H. Nakamuro et al. in 1990 demonstrated that whole body sound vibrations can cause homeostatic imbalance. Given the reality of the size and mass of a human body, a critical frequency or a set of critical frequencies must exist, resulting in very major physiological trauma and even death.

The phenomenon of boom cars compares to tobacco addiction - a danger to vehicle occupants and a nuisance to "secondary" listeners. Countermeasures against such public nuisances include: 1) enactment and diligent enforcement of municipal laws specifying limitations on discernable sound levels, 2) education in school systems on the dangers of excessive noise levels, and 3) public criticism of manufacturers' promotional efforts which emphasize extremely high sound power.


Things you need to know if your son wants to quit school to become a rock star:
How do you define "perfect pitch"? It's when you throw your son's guitar into the dumpster, and it lands right on top of his amplifier.
-Reader's Digest, June 2000

Entire contents © 2001 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society

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