My daughter and I were riding along with her two children in the backseat. They were listening to music on some sort of devices, and they were talking, too. “Be quiet and turn that music off,” she told them as she looked at me, as if in dread. I could not help but say, “Now, you’re the one who is too old.”
Loud noises have negative effects on us, no matter our age. They damage our ears, make us nervous, cause hypertension, and contribute to stress. Also, some people who have attended a late-night concert can attest to the fact that hearing loud noises before going to bed interferes with sleep.
I used to hear and read much more about the dangers of noise pollution than I do now, and I wonder why. Maybe the issue has taken a back seat to other types of pollution, but it is still a danger – one I no longer tolerate, if I can help it. I have walked out of three events in the past two years because they were too loud. One event I almost walked out of was the latest Superman movie. It was painfully loud so my movie companion and I decided to leave. We stopped by the customer-service desk to complain. Four young people listened politely to our complaints, smiled weakly, and said they were sorry. My friend and I walked away. “They don’t get it,” she said and shrugged.
Sadly, young people do not listen to the things we people of a more mature age try to tell them. Noises are not the only issues. Some include using more sunscreen, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking vitamins, and avoiding bodily stresses. I guess the younger generations will learn the hard way, as my generation has. Regarding noise, though, too many of my friends are suffering from hearing loss because of noise stress earlier in their lives. How I wish young people would take note.
Following are some ways all of us can cut down on damage to our ears: Wear protective ear plugs. Ask the makers of lawnmowers, blowers, and lawn trimmers to cut back on the noise. Communicate with television producers and let them know we dislike being blasted with commercials, a situation that seems to have improved lately. Ask for low-noise products. I used to buy low-noise hairdryers. I can’t find them anymore.
Recently, I was driving in another city. Apparently they had no noise ordinance against loud radios, mufflers, or motorcycles. One good thing about living in Anniston is that drivers can be held responsible for too much noise. This year, I have heard only one super loud car radio on Quintard Avenue.
Of course, some loud noises are necessary, such as those made by ambulances and fire trucks. Car and house alarms need to be loud, I suppose, but owners should be more aware of accidentally tripping them, especially in the middle of the night as one of my neighbors tends to do.
The responsible thing here is to speak out politely (and quietly). We need to have a quieter world. We would all be better off for it.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.