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1978 EPA Report
I would like to offer a word of thanks to David for
sending me the August 1978 EPA report entitled
NOISE: A HEALTH PROBLEM. It was issued
by the Office of Noise Abatement and Control,
which was abolished by the Reagan administration.
It is a fine summary for its time. Of course, it
said many things that I assume most list members
know from experience and common sense. It
discusses the various dimensions of the noise
problem, such as hearing loss, sleep disruption,
heart disease, learning impairment, and mental and
It is a shame that this document did not receive
wide publicity at the time it was issued.
I heartily recommend that all list members in the
USA trot down to your government documents library
and photocopy this pamphlet and use it to harangue
environmentalists, government officials, city council
members, legislators, educators, and congress
One deficiency of the booklet is that it does not
recognize the problem of noise addiction. It treated
the situation as though all of us are susceptible to
feelings of annoyance, aggravation, and discomfort
from excessive noise.
The situation is more complicated than that. Although
excessive noise can injure all of us in the long run, many
members of modern societies are afflicted with noise
addiction. They experience discomfort with silence, and
require constant audio stimulus for comfort in the short
The situation, of course, is very comparable to tobacco
addiction. Although smoking damages health and can
kill in the long run, smokers suffer immediate discomfort
from nicotine deprivation in the short run.
We are in desparate need of the health science community
coming to terms with and recognizing the problem of noise
-- Michael Wright
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