Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Spring 2009 - page 6

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Turn-off time on International Noise Awareness day

On March 28, 2009, Earth Hour called for people to turn off their lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Apparently, many heeded the call and, as a result, there was a significant drop in the use of electricity. Each year on INA-Day we ask people to turn off all noise and just listen for one single minute. To get an appreciable number of people to follow our call was so far an unattainable goal. Yet, there too, significant amounts of costly energy could be saved, with the added bonus of cutting down considerably on stressful, unhealthy noise, plus having an opportunity to hear, however briefly, the subtle sounds of nature.

On April 29 many will observe the 14th INA-Day. We urge all and everybody to pause for one minute at 2:15 p.m. (your local time) and listen. Should any of our members wish to receive some leaflets or other literature to distribute for INA-Day, please contact us.

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Hospitals could be named "Noisepitals"

When I recently called for an ambulance, I requested that they come to the building without the sirens on. Only minutes later I could hear sirens from miles away and thought to myself that they could be coming for me. Sure enough, they didn’t heed my request for a quiet approach. The young paramedics later apologised for the noise.

The drive to the hospital was good, but as soon as we had entered the admission of the emergency it was very noisy again. It is an extremely busy place: A steady shuffling of patients on stretchers and beds, people chattering in all directions and, worst of all, announcements via the intercom blaring from numerous speakers in the ceiling. For good measure, my bed was parked right under one of those speakers until I was taken into the ward.

The acoustic fair continued with a wide variety of digi-noise from gizmos and gadgets to monitor patients. First I thought the intercom was bad. On the ward I discovered that the acoustic signal of a patient’s call-button easily out-performed the frequent announcements from the ceiling. This signal sounds like the ringing of a telephone, only ten times louder. I assured the orderly that I would refuse to make use of the call button.

Every time I was about to doze off, another noise came on. When I succeeded once in a long while, a nurse came along to do this or that (i.e. taking the temperature, a blood sample etc.). The afternoon and evening I had to spend there, I had at least three different bed neighbours, just behind the dividing curtain. Eavesdropping on all these people made for great entertainment.

In the late evening it was determined that I could be discharged. I needed an ambulance to take me home. Since the “going” was no emergency, I had to wait for an “idle” trip. Much to my luck, I had the pleasure to be parked once more directly under a speaker. Across the aisle there was a steady come and go of patients. One lady was brought in who had over-dosed on crack and heroin. A 96-year-old woman next to her had a bad fall and was very sore. Luckily, she was alright and discharged. A man from the Ottawa area took her place. He had taken cocaine and was bashed up with a brick. He suffered a fractured skull.

Around midnight I got a ride home and very much appreciated departing from “noispital”.

—By Hans Schmid

The Organising Committee of the 38th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering (INTER­NOISE 2009) extends a warm welcome and invitation to participate fully in what promises to be the premier noise control engineering conference of 2009. The INTER­NOISE 2009 Congress, sponsored by the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I­INCE) and co­organised by the Canadian Acoustical Association (CAA) and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering­USA, will be held in Ottawa, Canada, from 23–26 August 2009.

Complete information regarding INTER­NOISE 2009, and information about Canada's beautiful capital city, Ottawa, can be found on the congress website www.internoise2009.com

Brad Gover and Stuart Bolton
INTER­NOISE 2009 Congress Technical Program Co­Chairs
on behalf of the entire Organizing Committee

Signs in the Vancouver, BC courthouse read:
Quiet please; court in session

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