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Noise, Nature, Politics, & Psychiatry
In a message dated 97-12-16 11:24:14 EST, Miranda writes:
>Those poeple go absolutely 'nuts' from 'normal'
>sounds. They become very agitated and feel unable
>to do anything as long as they hear the sound.
Yes, but who has the power to define what is "normal"
and what isn't? This question can become politicized
I am aggravated by loud stereos in public places, nuisance
barking dogs, loud mufflers, faulty home & auto alarm systems,
and boom cars. Am I abnormal? Will my condition soon be
written up and listed in the Diagnostic Manual of the American
Psychiatric Association? I shudder at the thought.
My personal hypothesis about noise-sensitivity is that it is
age-related -- not because we necessarily become more
sensitive as we become older -- but because we older folks
(I'm 50) were brought up in quieter times before the proliferation
of so many noise-making gadgets. Because of our habituation,
our tolerance level for noise was set much lower. Additionally,
I will admit that we have also had a longer time in which to
accumulate experiences of noise abuse, and the aggregate
impact over time of such abuse might also make us more
If we are to win a struggle for right-to-quiet, we are going to
have to become political. We should also recognize the
political nature of psychiatric labelling, and use it to our
advantage. The APA should be encouraged to recognize
noise addiction -- a syndrome which generally afflicts younger
people brought up in the age of continuing stimulus from
stereos and TVs -- and it should be included in their Diagnostic
Classification Manual. Treatment regimens need to be
established to normalize the noise-addicted and train them
to appreciate the value of quiet.
We must look to nature for the final gold standard for justifying
my position. We humans have more than a million years of
evolution behind us in which we became adapted to a natural
environment which was far more quiet than the noisy world
created with man-made devices proliferated within the last few
decades. What is NATURAL is what is normal. Quiet is
natural. Excessive man-made noise subverts nature and
-- Michael Wright <--- normal person, not noise-addicted,
is impressed by the awesome roar of
Niagara Falls but hates boom cars
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