Noisy sound-devices are a big risk to our hearing and health!

In our Winter 2004 newsletter we reported about the introduction of the 1,000-song music player iPod mini and warned of its possible misuse. In a recent edition of The Vancouver Sun we found the following AP-article:

iPods louder than a Who concert?
Pete Townshend has warned iPod users they may face hearing problems if they don't turn down the volume. Townshend, guitarist in the rock band The Who, said his hearing has been irreversibly damaged by years of using studio headphones and he must now take 36-hour breaks between recording sessions."Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired," he said on his website. "If you use an iPod or anything like it, or your child uses one, you MAY be OK. ... But my intuition tells me there is terrible trouble ahead."

The Who were famous for their ear-splitting live performances, but Townshend, 60, said his problem was caused by using earphones in the recording studio. Referring to the increasingly popular practice of downloading music from the Internet, Townshend said: "The downside may be that on our computers - for privacy, for respect to family and co-workers, and for convenience - we used earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound."

In another recent article by Helena Bryan (Mind, Body, Soul, Fall 2005) the headline COOL TECHNOLOGY MAY BE AGING YOUR EARS caught our eyes.

  She wrote in part:

Hip young people everywhere likely have no idea that their oh-so-cool iPods and other MP3 players could be hurtling them toward middle age faster than driving the family mini-van. According to an expert in the area of hearing amplification at Indiana's Purdue University, the almost constant use of portable music devices and cellphones by university and college students may be behind a disturbing increase in hearing loss in young people. In a widely reported warning, Robert Novak, director of clinical education in audiology at Purdue, says the loss is comparable to that normally seen only in middle-aged adults.

A long-term Argentinean study ... pointed the finger at various sources of recreational noise, including live concerts, stereos, dance clubs, and portable music devices. ... The maximum decibel level on such devices is usually 105, and the listener's tendency is to turn the sound on high to mask other noises ... Noise levels aren't helped by the hordes of cellphone users who seem to feel they need to be heard at the other end.

If all that weren't bad enough, there was no mention at all in those articles of any harmful non-auditory effects, like sleep disturbance, raised blood pressure, decreased learning ability and more. Please let your representatives in all levels of government know about this matter.


Petition: With the Fall 2005 newsletter we enclosed a copy of a petition and asked to return it in January. Please, if you still have it, return it to us when you renew your membership. Should you wish more time to collect more signatures on it, please return it when possible. Please note that you are not required to fill the whole sheet, though we appreciate if you could.

Legal Assistance Fund: In 2003 the Right to Quiet Society established this fund to assist people with litigation in certain circumstances. Explanations and application form are posted on our website. Without access to the Internet contact us.

11th International Noise Awareness Day: The next INAD is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2006! For this annual noise-awareness campaign we are planning to distribute leaflets and write to politicians and news-outlets again. Please let us know if you would take on some of that work or distribute brochures in your area.

Imposed radio-playing on buses: Our attention was drawn to drivers of the new small community shuttle buses in Greater Vancouver playing a radio for their entertainment, while passengers are prohibited to play such devices on Translink buses. This imposition should not be tolerated, just as smoking is prohibited, for every passenger's health and comfort. We urge our members to protest against that by calling Translink at 604-953-3040 and demanding noise-free bus rides!

Noise guns to scare away messy Canada geese
The City of Trail may have done a great job keeping dogs off its best beach but a flock of more than a dozen Canada geese isn't paying attention to the signs at Gyro Park. The city has heard so many complaints about their bathroom deposits that it is seeking a permit from the federal government to use noise-making starter guns to shoo the geese away. The city parks and recreation manager, who is taking on the project, said three noise-making guns have been ordered and each has a different sound. (Trail Times)

Useless scream machine
China imported a U.S.-made scream machine to scare away birds at Beijing airport. It didn't work because the birds didn't recognise the noises which were those of American predator birds. (Reuters)

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Winter 2006
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