I’m noise-sensitive, always was, but it was torture after my concussion. It has settled down but noise is still by far the greatest quality of life degrader for me. And most people would consider my neighborhood a quiet one by Bay Area standards.
Thing is, the brains of most people tune-out noise. Or does it? The brain has to work hard to do so, and it is far from free, as many studies show.
2022-07-10, by ZRINKA PETERS
Research indicates that the health consequences of noise make it worthwhile to seek out some silence
Ask five people what causes them to experience stress, and it’s likely that workplace frustrations, financial difficulties, personal relationships, or jam-packed daily schedules top the list. But there’s another, more subtle cause of stress that can be easily overlooked but is surprisingly impactful—environmental noise.
...According to Dr. Wolfgang Babisch, a lead researcher in the field of environmental noise, in a presentation made to the Acoustical Society of America in May 2015, “The evidence is increasing that ambient noise levels below hearing damaging intensities are associated with the occurrence of metabolic disorders (Type 2 diabetes), high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart diseases (including myocardial infarction), and stroke.”
WIND: no question it’s a stressor. A major one for me. If you suffer from noise sensitivity as I do, you know it’s not subtle. Only people who don’t suffer from it think so! It’s like a color blind person claiming the colors you can see are not there!
The problem is that noise-canceling headphones, excellent as they are, are just no good for enjoying life. I want to hear birdsong, the wind, etc. You cannot enjoy any of that with noise-canceling headphones. They have their place, but suck if you are outdoors and want to enjoy a nice day.
One of the striking things about being out in the wilderness is living largely free of noise, often entirely free and so quiet that the brain makes stuff up to compensate (26db or so). If you have not experienced it, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Noise in my neighborhood is an onslaught every weekday: lawn mowers, shredders, leaf blowers, at least two construction jobs within 1/4 mile (never ends), pool motors, etc. But it starts at 5 AM when the distant freeway rumble starts up, and goes past midnight with the damned train whistles 8 miles away. Inescapable.
On the weekends, small-plane pilots drone their planes for hours in mindless loops—those aholes could go fly over the ocean AFAIK, but instead they destroy the environment for a million people for hours, so loud that conversation is affected. It ought to be illegal. At least commercial planes come and go rapidly, loud as they are.