About


About Us - The Daily Decibel

The Daily Decibel began in 2009 after some years of experience with sound, audio, music and message in commerce and the public environs. I hope this can be a place for answers and solutions regarding auditory-related, noise-related, and music-related experiences.

NOTE: The Daily Decibel is NOT affiliated in ANY way, shape or form, with:
  • "Sherwyn's Daily Decibel" http://paper.li/sherwynsingh#
  • LaGuardia Airport, New York  http://www.panynj.gov/airports/laguardia.html
  • The Wordpress blog of "Daily Decibel"  http://dailydecibel.wordpress.com
  • Anyone at "Major Lazer" or "http://uncompletefactory.com/"
  • "Noise Free America" group
  • A magazine called "Decibel Magazine"
  • Publishers of "Bedford Styvesant Daily Decibel Readings"
  • The Daily Mail newspaper  


Everyone is susceptible (vulnerable) to the effects of noise

  • The Daily Decibel is dedicated to helping people with auditory-related and anxiety-related conditions and their families. We report on hearing health. I report on hearing-related conditions such as tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia, deafness, Meniere's Disease, and autistic disorders.
  • I've written about music, media, message, and how they can affect the human mind. We also write about resources for quiet living.
  • I've written about health issues. I primarily discuss auditory noise (unwanted sound) in the context of health. The U.S. Surgeon General has commented on noise as a health hazard. Hospitals and medical centers across the United States have recognized the health hazards of loud sounds. OSHA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have set specific guidelines for sound in commerce.
  • The medical community has researched and verified the effects of noise upon the hearing center, brain waves, physiological system, heart rate, and blood pressure. Noise can also be harmful to the baby inside the mother's womb. 
  • Noise can often become a legal issue. We are not experts in law but we are aware of various neighborhood noise issues in the United States and elsewhere. 
  • Noise can affect domesticated animals (pets) and is also known to adversely affect wildlife. However, we primarily treat noise as an issue that affects human beings. We look at the human physiological response to music. We look at anxiety. We look at music as it involves morality or the lack thereof.
  • I advocate quiet living and healthy and safe communities. We offer suggestions to cope with noise in urban areas. We offer information and support for the stress and anxiety that can arise from neighborhood noise; street traffic noise; aircraft noise; gas-powered leaf-blowing devices; and loud noise in shoppes, stores and gasoline stations.

I've reported on hyperacusis and misophonia which involve sensitivities to sound. Also, a relatively new medical term is NIHL: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Related medical and physiological conditions include:

I've also reported on:
  • Deafness and the hearing-impaired
  • Common sources of noise
  • The effects of noise upon health, and ways to protect yourself from noise
  • Healing music, music therapy
  • Benefits of music; classical music; baroque music
  • Messages in music

    I've featured 'Quiet products':
    • The Yacker Tracker®
    • Mass-Loaded Vinyl to soundproof your home or backyard
    • Acoustiblok® soundproofing material
    • Mack's® Ear Care
    • HEAROS® Earplugs
    • Flents® Earplugs by Apothecary Products
    • "White noise" machines such as oscillating fans or static-producing devices

      The following links provide more information on ear muffs.

      If you saw pictures or video of Grace Van Sustem, you may have seen her grimacing and pressing her ears amidst noise of fighter jets in the London skies. Grace Van Sustem was a bridesmaid at the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who is now the Dutchess of Cambridge.

      Whilst William and Kate share a kiss, little Grace is still overcome by the noise of the fighter jets.


      It isn't just children who are affected by noise. Noise can disrupt adult bodily systems. Certain sounds can cause visceral reactions [gut reactions] in each person. When under duress, we may lose ability to tolerate noise.

      Some products and devices have seen decreases in noise, allowing for quieter living. We've seen many developments in technology over the past few decades, but that doesn't automatically mean reduction in sound levels.

      Most people are sensitive to some sounds. For example: sharp nails scrawling and screeching across a hard chalkboard. Excessively loud motorcycle exhaust pipes. Someone screaming loudly.

      In many ways the urban experience is a noisy one. It is often not possible to turn off the sounds, but we can protect ourselves with earplugs (not very expensive), earmuffs (expensive), or noise-cancelling headphones (very expensive).


      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

      Q: How can I deal with noisy experiences?
      A: Sometimes we can avoid them. But here are some suggestions for dealing with noisy environments.
      • getting proper sleep
      • wearing soft foam earplugs (I suggest NRR 32 or NRR 33. I *ONLY* use NRR 32 and NRR 33.)
      • installing double-glazed (double-paned) home windows, if possible
      • avoiding or limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol (which can increase sensitivity)
      • asserting ourselves; politely but firmly ask noise-makers to turn down their noise
      • consulting with your doctor concerning treatment for anxiety (see below)
      • using "white noise" such as an upright oscillating fan to "cancel out" the bad noise

      Treatments for anxiety and noise sensitivity may include:

      Q: You write about hyperacusis and misophonia: high sensitivities to sounds and noises. Aren't these simply symptoms of other conditions or disorders?

      A: Possibly. They involve the physiological response.

      Q: I don't want to take medication. I'm concerned about side effects.
      A: We're not physicians, so please consult with your physician.

      Q: I don't want to wear earplugs or earmuffs. They block some sounds I need to hear.
      A: You don't have to wear earplugs or earmuffs. But if auditory conditions are such that exposure would be unhealthy, then earplugs or earmuffs would be suggested.

      Q: What if I am suffering the following sounds?
      • a neighbor's stereo or machinery equipment
      • loud partying
      • cats or dogs moaning at night
      • construction late at night
      • the noisy idling a loud car or truck engine
      • gas-powered leaf-blowing machines in the evening hours

      A: We're not attorneys. But if we can provide some input for your difficult situation, or if we can refer you to an appropriate resource, feel welcome to contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions. Consider the following basic ideas. We call them the 4 M's.
      • mitigation (discontinuing of the noise)
      • mediation (a third party to settle disagreement)
      • meditation (relaxation)
      • medication (prescriptions you can get from your doctor)

      It would be great if noise were always mitigated (reduced or blocked) at its source. But since that often is not the case, we often must protect ourselves. We may wear tight-fitting foam ear plugs or install double-paned windows in our homes. We may soundproof our apartment by adding carpet, rugs, or insulation.

      We strongly recommend ear plugs or noise-cancellation headphones, to block out loud sounds. We wear them almost all the time, because we frequently find ourselves in noisy areas.

      Q: Don't many people actually need signals which you call "noise"? Isn't a certain amount necessary in the urban work experience?

      A: Yes, that's a good point. We realize that some people may need loud signals in their environments. For example, firemen need loud signals. Fire department personnel respond to alerts signaling fires, explosions, or other dangers. It's what firemen react to. It's what they respond to. Same for "the Blue": cops, officers, sergeants, and lieutenants. And military officers, up and down the ranks.

      Q: Do you have any particular successes?
       
      A: Yes! We're working on a more complete detailing of our successes -- albeit not on a very grand scale.
      Here's one of my success stories, for your reference.



      Q: How loud is an MRI? What are decibel levels of MRI's?

      A: I suggest you visit these MRI websites:

        Q: Why do you write about music?

        A: The right music can help people relax and cope with stress. Certain music can be therapeutic for the body and soul. Music can energize us; help us de-stress; help us to contemplate/meditate. To de-stress, you might want to listen to Baroque music by composers such as Bach, Brahms, or Bizet.

        Here's a nice little softie:

        Baroque music can be soothing
        Baroque music is widely known to be calming, peaceful, and is known to have a soothing, calming effect. If you look up "baroque music" or "intermezzo strings" on the internet, you can probably find many examples of calming, peaceful baroque music. Here are a few:


        Q: I see you've written about noise mapping and 3D noise maps. Where can I find more info on noise mapping?


        A: I first learned about noise mapping from Professor Bart Kosko of USC . And although airport communities make noise maps available, they are (to our understanding) not yet available county-wide in any county in the United States. I've spoken with a Senior Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, who asked not to be named. The official basically told me that noise mapping would not be of tremendous benefit in the U.S.

        But we can hope! In the meantime, we can research what England and Europe have been able to do as a result of noise mapping.
         
        For more information on noise mapping and 3D noise maps, search "Noise Mapping England", "City of Paris Noise Maps", "European Union Noise Policy", and "Noise maps for France". For example, see the Defra UK Noise Mapping Website. And the European Commission has reported on noise mapping.
         
        You might want to visit the Links page.



        "But I'm Allergic to Foam Earplugs!"
        • If you're allergic to foam earplugs, you might try visiting a HEARUSA store. Ask them about custom molded earplugs. Tell them you're allergic to foam earplugs. Tell them about any other allergies you might have.
         
          
        WARNING: Do NOT insert paper wads into your ears. That is NOT a safe practice. Do NOT crumple up paper or plastic for use of noise protection. That is NOT safe. You don't want any paper fragments in your ear canal.
          




        Q: Why does God allow noise? If he were a good God, wouldn't he let me escape the noise? If he really loved me, why do I suffer terrible noise?

        A: That's a great question. I'm not sure I have a great answer. Inevitably, in society, we suffer noise. A certain amount of noise may not be very harmful to a person. Noise can cause: (1) rise in heart rate, (2) rise in blood pressure that could lead to hypertension, (3) change of mood or thought, (4) anxiety, (5) tremendous frustration and even anger.

        We believe that God watches over us, provides for us, and protects us. So why would a loving, patient God allow harmful noise? To give an analogy -- which may not be a particular good one -- why does God allow rain storms, drastic hot or cold temperatures, snow storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes? I don't know, but there are some faith-based resources you might want to check out (see following paragraphs).

        Could noise be punishment for something we did? Is it somehow our responsibility? Why do we seem to get stuck in really awful situations sometimes -- including very loud noise? Well, we've thought about this, and we think maybe it all really boils down to one question: "Why does God allow suffering?"

        And for that, we turned to a couple of articles. First is an article published regarding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It appeared in the Christian Research Journal (CRJ), a publication of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), based in North Carolina. They published the following article by Lee Strobel, author of "The Case for Christ"(published by Zondervan). The 'synopsis' of the article is included here.
        This article first appeared in the Volume 24 / Number 1 / 2001 issue of the Christian Research Journal. For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: www.equip.org

        We plan to look at the above issues further in the future.

        Thank you for visiting The Daily Decibel -- where we're trying to deal with the din, one decibel at a time.


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          At The Daily Decibel, we aim to be informative, thought-provoking, and encouraging to individuals who deal with sound sensitivity and related health issues on an occasional or daily basis. We hope we can be helpful to you.

          Disclaimer: The material on this site is designed to provide general information only. It should not be utilized as a substitute for advice from a qualified professional. This site is not intended to provide medical or legal advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. No medical advice or legal advice should be inferred herein.

          Football stadiums can get as loud as 100 decibels (100 dBA)


          Q: What if I am suffering the following sounds?
          • a neighbor's stereo or machinery equipment
          • loud partying
          • cats or dogs moaning loudly
          • construction late at night
          • revving up a truck engine
          • gasoline-powered leaf-blowing machines in the evening hours
          A: We're not attorneys. But if we can provide some input for your difficult situation, or if we can refer you to an appropriate resource, feel welcome to contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions. Consider the following basic ideas. We call them the 4 M's.
          • mitigation (discontinuing of the noise)
          • mediation (a third party to settle disagreement)
          • meditation (relaxation)
          • medication (prescriptions you can get from your doctor)
          It's a noisy world


             It would be great if noise were always mitigated (reduced or blocked) at its source. But since that often is not the case, we often must protect ourselves. We may wear tight-fitting foam ear plugs or install double-paned windows in our homes. We may soundproof our apartment by adding carpet, rugs, or insulation.

             We strongly recommend ear plugs or noise-cancellation headphones, to block out loud sounds. We wear them almost all the time, because we frequently find ourselves in noisy areas.





          For further reference on decibels, safety, and health



          For further reference on decibels, safety, and health

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