Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Dealing With Noisy Neighbors


>   I don't give a damn what the decibel meter says.  If I can
>   hear the noise in my house -- or even in my yard -- it's
>   too loud.  

I understand what you are trying to say, and of course I'm following your 
messages (as those of the other list members) and see that you are
consistently advocating for this kind of solution.

I agree on the basic idea, but I don't think we should dismiss an
objective measure of annoyinng potential of a given noise source.
First, it's quite dangerous to empower a cop to intervene in a
confrontation just on the basis of his/her own subjective perception of
the situation. Maybe he/she is an extremely sensitive person and will
react violently before the slightest sound, or maybe he/she does in fact
like that "music", and thus will tend to consider that it is not an

Perhaps the A-decibel scale is not the most appropriate one. Not
"perhaps", it's *indeed* not well fitted to the job it's intended to do.
That means we should find out another scale, another objective way to
measure or assess annoyment. It's not easy, and the widespread
availability of A-weighted sound level meters, dosimeters and analyzers is
perhaps the culprit for the fact that not enough research is being done
worldwide in that field. I have suggested more than once such a
possibility  at different places, conferences, and meetings, and my words
are not only unheard, but they are considered almost heretic. A-decibels 
seems to correlate too well with hearing damage to allow for new

Fortunately, digital signal processing is today widely available, and at
a low enough cost, so that complex algorithms simulating or modelling the
response of the ear and *also the brain* to noise (from the annoying
point of view) might be implemented using that technology, in such a way
that a more realistic criterion (if not a single figure) could be

But I think (I'll never get tired of saying this) that the best criterion 
is not to have to assess noise in order to find out if it bothers or not
people, but to educate people from childhood to directly avoid producing

Best regards.

Federico Miyara

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