The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m. by President Hans Schmid. Twenty-seven people were in attendance. The minutes of last year's AGM were published in our Spring 2000 newsletter. Copies of our financial statement were circulated for the attending members' information.

To accommodate our speaker's request for an early start, we had Mrs. Glynnis Tidball's presentation prior to doing our business. Hans introduced Mrs. Tidball, an audiologist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. She spoke on the topic of "Hyperacusis and phonophobia: What are they, and do I have them?"

She addressed hearing loss and its associated complications: Hearing loss interferes with communication, affects job performance and may cause annoyance and stress. The latter may lead to high blood pressure and much more. While explaining the anatomy of the ear, the function of the hair cells in the inner ear was emphasized. A striking image comparing intact and severely noise-damaged hair cells of guinea pigs was shown. Not all sounds are heard consciously. For instance, during a lecture the noise of a projector is not always noticed. Sounds must reach the auditory cortex of the brain to be heard consciously.

Hyperacusis: Abnormal perception of loud noises. Causes may be hyperactive hair cells and that the lower parts of the brain pick up sounds. Also, emotional association plays a role: A dripping faucet can cause annoyance, while rain drops are considered to be soothing.

Phonophobia: Sounds are evaluated and respectively tolerated on account of emotional associations, not of their loudness. A fear of sounds exists or can be developed. In this condition, the wearing of earplugs in quiet surroundings may worsen the effect of phonophobia for some sufferers, as the contrast between silence and everyday noises will be too severe and damaging to the hearing.

Counteractions to hyperacusis and phonophobia: Avoid total silence at night. Use "white noise" (light sound) to camouflage disturbing noises. For instance, OBUS FORME® has produced a gadget called the Therapy Relaxation System to generate such "white" sounds. It is available at Pharmasave opposite St. Paul's Hospital at Burrard St. in Vancouver and at Shoppers Home Health Care in Vancouver, North Vancouver, White Rock, Lethbridge, Penticton, and Summerland. In tests with people suffering from tinnitus an improvement rate of 80% has been observed. More information on this matter is available on the Internet at Noise tolerance can be improved if complete silence is avoided.

Following her interesting talk, Mrs. Tidball answered questions from the floor and was presented with a Right to Quiet Society T-shirt for her kind effort.

After a short break the meeting reconvened. Hans reported on the activities of the Society during the year. He praised Peter Donnelly, who stepped down from the board last year, for his stupendous contributions to our Society. Amongst many other things, Peter edited the newsletters for almost 4 years, established our web site on the Internet, and produced our handbook, "What You Can Do About Noise In BC." Very fortunately, V. D. joined us back then and took on the job of editing our newsletters, to much acclaim. We are very grateful for her tireless effort and dedication. She received a warm applause.

In late 1999 we managed to qualify for a new computer at half price under the Vol-Net program of the Federal Government. The computer was installed in January 2000. It makes the handling of our tasks, especially on the Internet, more efficient and has therefore helped the Society considerably.

On International Noise Awareness Day, April 12, 2000, a number of our members volunteered to distribute our NOISE leaflets on a beautiful, sunny day. Director George Jameson wrote to over thirty BC municipalities requesting a proclamation of International Noise Awareness Day; fifteen were issued. George also wrote our press release and a letter to politicians across the country. Details are mentioned in our Fall 2000 newsletter. George stepped down from our board after having served for one year and we want to thank him very much for his great help and good sense of humour.

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

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