Eating and Sound

No, this post is not about people who eat with their mouths open. It is about ……

the noisy restaurant. Who hasn’t encountered this situation? You got out for dinner and you can’t hear the person across the table from you, and there is a general wave of noise/sound/music all around you. By the time the water arrives, I am ready to run for the door.  I think my days of going out for food are almost over. Which is too bad.

(I have written about this before – you can review here and here.)


I recently saw one attempt at fixing this problem.  We were in Ithaca, NY, and ate at a lovely Mexican restaurant; great food and cool décor. AND a lot of people and quite a lot of noise.

But as you can see in the photos below, they have put sound-proofing baffles up on the ceiling in order to cut down at least some of the volume. I guess it worked; I suppose it could have been louder! They could probably add even more baffles, and that would help some more.




Anyhow – I hope more eating establishments get on this issue and find ways to cut down the volume. One place to start is to turn down the music.

Take your earplugs with you, though they won’t help if you want to have a conversation!



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Noise in the hinterlands

I just got the link below in my email today.  Such bad news – even the quiet spots are no longer quiet!  What the hell are we doing to the world?

Not much more to say about this.  Just read the story here.

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Noisy Down Under

Who knew?

There are fines if you make too much noise at Sydney Opera House!!!

sydney opera house

Rock group Florence and the Machine performed there; and the Opera House was fined $15,000.00 for violating noise limit regulations.

florence and the machine

Are you wondering what I was wondering – how loud were they if they were INSIDE and it was still too loud OUTSIDE??

This article helps explain it: it was on outdoor concert!  That makes more sense.

But still.  As a neighbour (across a small river) to a park where there are several festivals every summer, I understand why the Opera House’s neighbours are p**sed.

Here you can see the band performing live:  not TOO loud; but then who knows. What do you think of the volume level, from what you can hear?


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More on “Pink Noise”

More “Pink Noise”

oldies sleeping

Remember white noise machines?  They were recommended as a way to mask night time noise, and help people get to sleep.

If you have a hard time falling asleep, and if you are ‘older (like the people in the photo above), then you will know that “[D]eep sleep, and in turn, memory, decrease substantially in middle age.”( Now there is a study (albeit a small one) that suggests that “pink noise” can improve both.

(If you read the last NC post, you will know that “pink noise” is also being used in certain cars as part of “pre-safety” measures.)

pink noise2

Although this approach is not yet available for home use, you might want to know about the apparent link between “pink noise” and improved sleep!

You can read more about this study here.

And you can read the whole study here; doing so might help you fall asleep too!

PLUS – If you would like to try some pink noise, here is a Youtube link to an hour of “pink noise”.

Good night!  Sleep tight!

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Cars Crashing and Noise

Car Crashes and Noise

Car crashes are usually noisy affairs:  brakes shrieking, glass breaking, metal rending and grinding, etc.  Apparently the noise level of a car crash is often over 150 dB, which is very loud and very hard on hearing. And the noise level of airbags deploying is around 165 dB.  According to IEEE Spectrum: “It’s estimated that 17 percent of the people who are exposed to airbag deployment suffer some degree of permanent hearing loss.” (  (You can read more about the hearing damage caused by airbag deployment here.)

Watch an airbag deploy, in silence, here.

So what is to be done? Apparently the auto industry is very attentive to what they call “pre-safety” technologies:

“The idea of pre-crash safety has been out there for a while. For instance, a car can instantly tighten the seatbelt to minimize movement and prevent the body from “submarining” forward, under the belt. Or it can inflate a tiny airbag to nudge the driver toward the center, protecting against side impact. Or it can close the sunroof, adding to the rigidity of the cabin.” (ibid.)

And now we find out that Mercedes-Benz, as part of its pre-crash safety systems, has been working for years on a system that they are calling “pre-safe sound”, which is now available and “standard in the 2017 E class {Mercedes-Benz].” (ibid.)


And they are marketing it with this image:

pink noise

What, you ask, is “pre-safe sound”?  Exactly what it says, folks! Sound that occurs BEFORE your car crash happens. Here is what IEEE Spectrum says about it:

“When the car’s sensors sense an impending crash, the cabin is filled with a burst of “pink” noise, a broad spectrum of frequencies in which the power is inversely proportional to the frequency. That triggers the so-called acoustic reflex, in which the stapedius muscle—the smallest muscle in the body (remember that for Trivial Pursuit)—contracts, bracing it, the bones of the inner ear, and the eardrum. The pink noise is around 80 decibels, about equal to that of a dishwasher and completely safe.” (ibid.)


[A quick note:  80 dB is still pretty loud. And most new dishwashers are much quieter than that – mine is about 49 dB.  But, 80 is better than 160!]

If you have a lot of money, I guess you could buy one of these Mercedes. Or wait until pink noise becomes a standard item on all cars.

Drive carefully out there; and don’t play your music TOO loudly!



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Scotties knows noise

Scotties knows about noise!! Yes, THAT Scotties – the people who sell you Kleenex, and paper towels and toilet paper.

Do you watch curling on TV?  Are you that sort of person?  Or perhaps you attend curling tournaments?


Then, you might have seen a recent ad: this one for Scotties’ paper products.

Wait until the end and you will see why all these people are wearing their ear protection!


If you have ever been to an arena, especially a closed one like a curling rink, and if there are hundreds/thousands of fans in the building, then NOISE will be an issue. In fact, it can lead to long-term damage to your hearing.

(See here and here for previous NC postings about sports events and noise and ear protection.)

Suggestion: ALWAYS have your ear protection with you.  But if you forget, get to the washroom and grab some of Scotties’ product, twist it up and gently place it in your ears. That will help, at least a bit.

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Israel, Noise and Religion

Noise and Religion

A number of years ago, we were in Malaysia, and 5 times a day we heard the Muslim call to prayer. This call was usually amplified by sound systems near the various mosques. We were surprised, but since the calls are a common occurrence in countries with a Muslim population, we thought little of it.


mosque-loudspeakersPic of

Then one day at our hotel we heard a story of an Australian visitor who had disconnected a loud speaker outside his hotel window because the early morning call to prayer was waking him up. A few hours later he was arrested for blasphemy. Apparently you can’t disconnect these sound systems. (I am not sure what happened to him; I assume/hope he got off with a warning.)

But now, the Israeli government is planning to pass a bill which would limit “noise” between 11 pm and 7 am. Such a ban includes the first Muslim morning call to prayer. Supposedly the bill is intended to reduce noise pollution. But given the religious tensions in Israel, many see it as an attack on the Muslim population and their religious practices.

You can read more about the bill in a recent article here.

Here is another article about the bill, from last fall. In it, we are told that the original bill was sent back for alterations due to concern about its impact on Jewish practices:

“In a sign of the complexity of the issue, it drew surprise opposition on Tuesday from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox health minister, Yaakov Litzman, who temporarily blocked parliamentary debate and sent the issue back to the ministers because it might also affect the use of sirens to announce the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.”

And most likely, if the bill was applied equitably, this would be the case. It appears that  the new version of the bill restricts the use of loudspeakers and sound systems, but not sirens?

Other countries have placed decibel level limits on the muezzin calls:

“A 2011 Knesset-commissioned report found that several European countries, as well as Cairo and some cities in Saudi Arabia, currently impose decibel-level limits on the muezzin’s call.”

But a decibel limit is not a complete ban. Unfortunately, this bill is just another piece of the incredibly complicated situation in Israel. Who knows what will happen if it is passed, which seems likely. Once again, we run up against the delicate balance of what is considered ‘noise’ by some, and ‘not noise’ by others.  This time the conflict arises within an explosive social/cultural/political/religious context that seems to offer no acceptable compromise/solution.

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