David Bies dies at 89

The co-author of one of my main go-to references in my everyday work, David Bies, has died. His book, Engineering Noise Control, has been an invaluable resource.

Hearing Loss – affecting more people as our lives get noisier.

PA speakers
Speakers (Photo credit: sebilden)

Every week I see more and more articles on how younger people are losing their hearing. They’re not paying attention to the warnings:

“Although hearing problems are normally associated with aging, our youth will need hearing aids earlier in life if they continue to damage their hearing by listening to music at dangerous volumes.”

Research by Australian Hearing’s National Acoustic Laboratories shows it is not just mobile devices that have the potential to cause damage to hearing. Attending nightclubs, pubs and live concerts, can also impact on the hearing of young Australians.

And do you know what causes hearing loss?

The sad truth is that many of us are responsible for our own hearing loss,” writes Katherine Bouton in her new book, “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 50 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You.” The cause, she explains, is “the noise we blithely subject ourselves to day after day.”

We are born with a fixed number of hair cells; once they are dead, they cannot be replaced, and auditory sensitivity is permanently lost. Usually, sensitivity to high-frequency sounds is first to go, followed by an inability to hear the frequencies of speech.

Furthermore, the effects of noise exposure are cumulative, as Robert V. Harrison, an auditory specialist at the University of Toronto, noted recently in The International Journal of Pediatrics. Although we start out with a redundancy of hair cells, with repeated noisy insults, enough are destroyed to impair hearing. Thus, damage to hair cells incurred early in life, as has happened to many rock musicians and rock concert aficionados, can show up in midlife as difficulty understanding speech.

Behind the ear aid
Behind the ear hearing aid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then you get articles like saying that people are embracing hearing aids:

But Saad said a new market has opened up among younger adults who are increasingly likely to embrace hearing aids as a technological tool like an iPod or pedometer.

“The stigma is gone,” Saad said. “Because of young people’s perceptions of technology, they are more inclined to get hearing health care. They’re not afraid of it.”

Okay – it’s good that there’s less of a stigma surrounding it, but hearing aids are not the solution – we need to preserve our hearing!


International Noise Awareness Day – AMA (about noise, that is)

Not that I would have all of the answers… But I could try to answer them.

I tweeted earlier about it but I forgot to publicize this day HERE. On this blog. So I figure I at least had to write something about it and link the links to places on the web which talk about it or are holding events about it.

I don’t think there’s been much publicity that I’ve seen surrounding it. In fact I only heard about this a few days ago.

Noise bylaw update in Calgary possible – due to noisy air conditioners

Air Conditioner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calgary might be updating their noise bylaw to address the annoyance of noisy air conditioners.

Calgary’s bylaw department recorded 2,400 noise complaints last year. Most were loud music calls, nearly 500 were due to construction, and 131 complaints were related to air conditioners, generators, fans and vacuums, according to Animal and Bylaw Services.

That’s just over 5% of complaints being due to equipment. Is that really enough of a nuisance to consider a bylaw change or amendment?  Perhaps; I don’t know. <shrug> What I do think, though, is that more equipment manufacturers (including air conditioner equipment manufacturers) need to start listing the sound levels output from their equipment so that people (and us consultants) can make an informed choice on whether it’s quiet enough for their purposes. I find it really frustrating when companies hide their info, don’t give it out as they do with the other equipment specifications, or they just don’t care enough about it to test their products for noise output.

Hmm, I also wonder if other cities put out the statistics on noise-related complaints.