Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Winter 2007 - page 2

Hockey noise, continued from page 1

Two hearing tests were also performed on Liu and his spouse before and after the game to check the "integrity" of the outer hair cells of their inner ears—the first structures usually damaged by loud noise. Think of those cells as a wheat field, Hodgetts says. "When a windstorm comes through, much of it lays down and then comes back up again eight to 16 hours later. But if another windstorm comes through, they go back down again. It's the cumulative effect of blowing wheat down and eventually it just doesn't come back up again." The consequences are hearing loss and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears that can cause a significant loss of quality of life. "People lose sleep over it." The average exposure levels for each game were 104.1, 100.7 and 103.1 decibels.

"Given that most fans do not wear hearing protection during hockey games, thousands are at risk for hearing damage," Hodgetts and Liu say. At these levels, if the arena were a typical workplace where people spent eight hours a day, they would have experienced 8,100 per cent of the maximum daily-recommended noise dose. Both Liu and his wife said the world sounded muffled after the games. Both experienced mild tinnitus and their "hearing thresholds" deteriorated by five to 20 decibels, "a real change in hearing status," the authors report.

The effects usually disappear after a day or two, but over a person's lifetime, "cumulative exposures like these things do add up and the delicate little cells in the inner ear that respond to sound don't work as well anymore," Hodgetts says. He's not sure how applicable the findings would be to other hockey stadiums. "We're probably the upper bar of concern." Still, the risk of hearing loss for season-ticket holders, arena workers and the players themselves "warrants serous con sideration," Hodgetts and his co-author say in the CMAJ.

Sources: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery;
Canadian Hearing Society; City of Saskatoon;
Simon Fraser University; Canadian Medical Association Journal.

- The Vancouver Sun

Don't moan—take action, Brits urged

LONDON - British Home Secretary John Reid is to urge the public to take action against anti-social behaviour. Reid demonstrated his desire to seize control of Prime Minister Tony Blair's "respect" programme at a presentation to Blair and his cabinet colleagues, details of which have been obtained by the Sunday Telegraph. He demanded an "aggressive" publicity campaign that would challenge the public with the slogan “Don't moan—take action—it's your street, too."

In his presentation, Reid called for a complex 50-point "respect" action plan to be boiled down to six "emblematic" policies aimed at curbing anti-social behaviour. These include parenting programmes for problem families, "intervention" in the most serious cases of nightmare neighbours, "effective enforcement" by local authorities, and better neighbourhood policing. There would also be "face the people" sessions where the public could meet law-and-order agencies, and landlords would be made to take action against problem tenants.


Reid has designated the worst 40 parts of England—No. 1 is Manchester—for anti-social behaviour. They will be labelled "respect areas," where the local authority will be made to sign a deal to deliver the six key policies.

By next April, all the other local authorities will be obliged to sign a "local area agreement" that will see their "respect programme" measured against the public perception of progress in seven key indicators. These are: teenagers hanging around the street, noisy neighbours or loud parties, drug dealing or drug use, abandoned or burnt-out cars, vandalism and graffiti, litter, and drunkenness.

Reid made his confidential presentation at a meeting of his cabinet colleagues addressed by Elaine Holland, 36, the mother of two who took on a gang of louts terrorising her housing estate in Plymouth. She complained, only to become a virtual prisoner in her home, driving her to set up a hotline for residents to report anonymously about gang activity.

Sunday Telegraph

Want to reduce stress? Keep quiet!

Numerous studies have linked unwanted sound to increased levels of stress. Even low-level noise has been associated with increased aggression and other mental health problems, as well as poor sleep, high blood pressure and heart disease. Janet Luhrs, pioneer of the Simplicity Movement, offers the following tips for increasing moments of silence in your daily life so you'll feel better and be healthier:

  • Start your day with silence. Before running headlong into another day, do something relaxing for 12 minutes when you wake up, such as stretching, reading something inspirational, or meditating. Most people have coffee and turn on the TV. That's the worst thing you can do.

  • Eat at a table, without TV or reading. Mindful eating helps you enjoy your food more, prevents overeating because you're tuned in to your body's signals of fullness, and allows your body to metabolise food more efficiently.
  • Try driving in silence. The car is a wonderful place to get in touch with your thoughts and be with yourself. Silence is rejuvenating.

  • Create a silence retreat at home. Set aside an evening at home when you won't talk. Turn the ringer off the phone and don't answer it. Turn off the TV. If you have a co-operative family, try to do it together, or trade nights with your spouse taking the kids out.
  • Practise silent exercise. When you exercise, try it without the iPod and magazines. If possible, exercise outdoors. Silence helps you listen to the healthy signals your body is giving you— to slow down, go faster or straighten up.

More of Luhr's ideas can be found at http://www.simpleliving.com

Stitches for Patients


Entire contents © 2006 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society
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