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    Sound of silence, and other noises

    The great compensating benefit of being hard of hearing is the easy ability to tune out. Unplug. Abolish noise pollution. Turn the roar of the world into meow. I speak from experience.

    Another benefit is that civic authorities would likely have much less trouble on their hands if more people were hearing impaired. Few things seem to occupy the authorities of big cities and small towns more than noise, judging by a Google search that yielded a score of news reports about noise, all dated within two days in mid-April, 2013.

    In Durham, North Carolina, police issued a citation to the New Hope Church alleging it was in violation of a city noise ordinance. A group of citizens filed a lawsuit, claiming that its services and “performances” are “akin to rock concerts,” causing “thumping base noises within our homes.” The civil action turned into criminal hearings when some of the complainants were accused of lying during court proceedings, and the case seemed likely to drag on.

    In Collegdale, Tennessee, Howard and Nancy Reykdale launched a lawsuit over noise from a police firing range, 719 feet from their home, resulting in proposed controversial amendments that would exempt the police from the city’s noise ordinance.

    In Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, Shari Beachem complained to city council that noise from the 24-hour operation of folk lifts and power generators of an industrial firm operating on a former parking lot was a matter of life and death. “We’re talking about nervous breakdowns,” Beachem said. “Something has to be done, or you are sick, sick, sick.”

    In Powell, Ohio, Kurt Paulus filed a lawsuit against CityCorp over the noise from the bank’s emergency power generators at its data centre, said to disturb the tranquility of homes in a nearby wooded area, at any time of the day or night.

    In Swanage, Dorset, England, Jessica Ashurst was fined more than £1,000 on three charges of noise nuisance caused by playing loud amplified music at her home.

    In Stonington, Connecticut, 32 residents petitioned the Board of the Police to stop a teenager from riding his dirt bike, up to seven hour at a time, causing a noise said to be louder than a chain saw, so loud that “My kids can’t do their homework, even with the windows shut,” according to one complainant.

    In Ocean City, Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the violinist William F. Hassay, Jr., said to have suffered a loss of income by an ordinance that prohibits playing musical instruments on the city’s boardwalk loud enough to be plainly audible at a distance of 30 feet. Hassay claimed to earn as much as $25,000 in tourist tips from his summer performances, until he was forced to stop.

    In New York City, authorities received 40,412 noise complaints in 2012. The sources of the noises are identified on a map compiled and published by theatlanticcities.com.

    TAGS: Noise, noise pollution, sound, silence, hearing impairment

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