Welcome back! Best wishes for 2015, and may it be as quiet as you need/want!!
I was digging through some old files and came across an article which I figured is a good way to start the year. The article, which you can access here, looks at how noise affects our health. Then it discusses how some sound designers are working to mitigate the ‘bad’ noise of city life, and enhance the ‘good’ sounds. Sounds like a plan to me!
noise map of London
One interesting part of the article draws on ‘noise’ maps of London, to show where and when that city is loudest and quietest. I have shown you some of these maps before, but it is always useful to be reminded. (BTW, here is a link to noise maps of Paris, and here is one to some cool maps of noise in NYC, and here is one for Amsterdam.)
On another note, the sound-sensitive son of a friend of ours took his Ear Peace earplugs to a concert recently. They worked! He was able to enjoy the music rather than be deeply distressed by the volume. So, just a reminder that THIS year you should make sure you have a supply of ear protection. (Ear Peace plugs are available here.)