Noisy Neighbors Impact Life Quality

When “Love They Neighbor” Excludes Church Bells

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – Instances of litigation over noise are on the rise across the U.S., and Acoustiblok is committed to finding solutions to noise problems before legal actions begin. Many of our customers come to us because they want to be good neighbors. However in some cases, nuisance noise isn’t so easily solved.

The meaning of ‘love thy neighbor’ was challenged in court recently, when a Phoenix, Arizona judge was asked to decide between the rights of two neighbors: a church that played recorded bells through a loudspeaker 13 times a day, and annoyed residents who wanted quiet.

According to The Arizona Republic, The Cathedral of Christ the King was cited last year for violating a Phoenix “nuisance and noise” ordinance and its bishop given a 10-day suspended jail sentence after neighbors complained about the bells chiming hourly from 8AM to 8PM, seven days a week. In response, the church sued the city, claiming the noise ordinance was not only unconstitutional but written so that it was “impossible for a person to know if a noise he is making is against the law.”

A federal judge ruled that the church’s “interests of free speech and religious expression” outweighed the arguments of the neighbors. Readers of the Republic pondered the nuances of noise.

“What about all the folks riding their loud Harleys and pickup trucks up and down the street all day and night?” asked one. “How’s that any different?”

There’s “a big difference between legal (ringing bells) and moral (respecting your neighbors and not annoying them),” wrote another. Tell us what you think: Should one kind of “noise” be more protected than another? Do churches have an extra responsibility to be sensitive to their neighbors—or the other way around?

Excerpted from an article by Kathy McManus in The Responsibility Project

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

Dealing With Noise When You’re the Noisy Neighbor

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – You’ve heard the warnings many times before, and you’re even beginning to become aware of it in your own environment. Noise pollution is taking a toll on our health according to medical researchers around the globe. We all need to step up to the plate and make an effort to quiet our environments before the noise makes us ill, or worse.

Worse? Yes. Noise can kill us.  It can also drive us to do crazy things.

I have written plenty of articles about the health effects of noise on humans, animals, and plant life. I have covered new findings relating traffic noise to increased incidents of heart attack, and ambient environmental noise to a host of disorders from sleeplessness to depression, increased blood pressure, delayed recovery from major illnesses and even surgery. Noise can be toxic, but if we all become at least somewhat mindful of the health risks of noise, we can take steps toward making our environments quieter, healthier places.

Once we do that, we can sit back and enjoy our improved quality of life, and watch it work its magic on our friends and families, right?  Think about it, if we suddenly all became hyper-vigilant about our own noise emissions and eradicated 90 percent of environmental noise overnight, the serenity might be overwhelming. Would we know what to do with it, or what it would sound like?

In addition to the toll environmental noise pollution takes on our bodies, there is another way noise can lead to death – murder. Seriously, folks are murdering each other over loud stereos and high volume parties in rising numbers, and this is a whole new side effect of noise that I think we’d better start paying closer attention to. People are killing each other over noise, and the problem seems to be worsening.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

OK, we know theoretically that neighbors have had deadly disputes  since the Hatfields and McCoys began murdering each other back in 1863 and didn’t stop until 1891. Of course, their ongoing feud wasn’t started because of noise, but it created a whole lot of noise for both families and their neighbors on the West Virginia–Kentucky border.  Noise can be scary and intimidating, it can be used as a weapon. The Hatfield/McCoy noise occurred in the days before restraining orders and costly noise citations were issued to prevent crimes between neighbors, so it probably got pretty loud over there on the Kentucky/West Virginia border.

Fast Forward to Brentwood California, 2004. I once watched a television news report about Actress Julie Newmar, whose Brentwood home is next door to the home of Actor James Belushi. For years these two have been making each other’s lives miserable, a feud triggered when the aging Catwoman first complained about Belushi’s loud music invading her serene home environment.

Now, neighborly spats over noise, and one neighbor’s refusal to turn down the volume causing the offended neighbor to set off on a “campaign of harassment” (so said Belushi’s $4 million lawsuit against Newman when the back and forth became unbearable) is nothing new, and neither of them killed each other (although both alluded to fantasizing about it). But they each had blood pressure spiking for years, trouble sleeping, and heightened states of stress. But, other than the fact that this was Catwoman and the younger brother of the late, great Bluto, they could easily be any two American neighbors being driven crazy over one man’s music being another man’s inability to cope.

It’s never healthy when neighbors begin behaving like bullies, but what’s worse is when one neighbor loses site of reality and takes their rage to the next level. Some people are truly hypersensitive to noise, and it can become pathological. Ligyrophobia is literally a fear of noise, and although not every guy who goes off on a tirade over the neighbor’s barking dog or noise coming from a party is ligyrophobic, you don’t want to be blasting AC/DC in your garage if your neighbor happens to suffer from the condition. Let’s face it, we really do need to become more considerate, we never know when our neighbor might have a legitimate sensitivity to noise. Ligyrophic or not, he or she may have suffered from a traumatic event in their lives, or even an illness that left them with a low tolerance for noise.

Or, they could be doing a schedule II drug like methamphetamine, which can make a person overreact to even the slightest stimuli, in which case it’s just not safe to egg them on.

Such was the case last month in Woodlawn, California when police were called to a home on a noise complaint. When they arrived on the scene, a man who wasn’t happy about noise coming from his neighbor’s house had worked himself up into quite a frenzy, flashing a toy gun he held under a towel at police – the same toy gun he had waved at his noisy neighbors just minutes earlier in an encouraging gesture to get them to turn down their stereo.  Of course, brandishing even a toy gun is highly illegal, especially when you do it with methamphetamine in your bloodstream and in a little bag hidden in your sock for later. Had the toy gun been real, the noisy neighbors may never have learned how close to a psychotic episode their noise-sensitive by means of meth neighbor had come, and how seriously agitated he was over their loud music.

Methamphetamine ingestion can cause a person do rash things he or she might never do ordinarily, like shoot their noisy neighbors who refuse a request to pipe down.

And for more than a year we’ve been glued to the trial of a 46-year-old retired firefighter from Houston who shot his unarmed neighbor, a 36-year-old school teacher, over noise coming from a birthday party being hosted in the school teacher’s home next door. The shooter, Raul Rodriguez, insisted he had the right to “stand his ground” at the base of the noisy neighbor’s driveway and shoot the neighbor along with two other victims. Rodriguez had a reputation for being a hothead and a bully, and he seriously believed he could use deadly force against a neighbor because the birthday party noise was agitating him. He’ll spend 40 years in prison, having been convicted of murdering his neighbor over noise.

Weren’t most of us at one time that smart aleck who thought it was funny to crank the stereo louder when a neighbor complained? It really wasn’t a thoughtful gesture, and had I known then what I know now, I would not have participated in those antics. Noise is perceived differently by everyone, and even the most level headed among us, when subjected to noise that is invasive and inescapable for an extended period of time can be driven nuts. Our bodies aren’t designed for long stretches of high decibels. Some of us are more sensitive to noise than others. Of course, we expect our neighbors not to turn into murderous lunatics over sounds that we enjoy and relate to good times, but if they’ve knocked on your door, called you on your phone, or contacted the police because the noise is bothering them, they’re telling you the noise is too loud.

Turn it down. Buy some headphones. Install soundproofing material in your garage or home media room to block and absorb noise so you can crank your stereo without invading your neighbor’s privacy.

Everyone will live longer.

Do Noisy Neighbors Define the Quality of Your Life?

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – As the old saying goes, good fences make good neighbors. Unfortunately, life with noisy neighbors is more complicated than that. Is the fence on the right side of the property line? Are there any overhanging branches or roots sneaking under the fence? Is there a dog barking constantly, or at odd hours behind that fence?

“Neighbors really define your quality of life,” says Emily Doskow, a lawyer and co-author of “Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise” (1991, updated 2011, Nolo). Living with a noisy neighbor  can be incredibly wearing and turn a peaceful community into a battleground.

Additionally, with more people working from home today, daytime sounds that may once have gone unnoticed can create high levels of tension.

In most suburban neighborhoods, barking dogs are the worst noise offenders. Craig Mixon, a Northern California homeowner, became so bothered by barking dogs in the neighborhood that  he started, a web site that offer resources for others who are dealing with the same problem.

Mixon, a master dog trainer, tried talking to neighbors who owned the offending dogs, even offering to train the dogs for them. Nothing worked.

Regulations about barking dogs or other noise from neighbors vary according to town. In some cases, they are covered by noise laws, in others by nuisance laws.

Once-friendly neighbor relationships can be torn apart by noisy dogs. In Mixon’s community, one neighbor put their dogs outside, often all day, in a lawn surrounded by an invisible fence, which offered no noise barrier when the dogs began barking. Several neighbors approached the dog owners gently to ask that something be done, to no avail.

One neighbor did call town officials to see what could be done, but was told that noise laws applied from dusk to dawn, which may work in the winter, but not so well in the summer when days are long and nights are short. And she didn’t feel comfortable complaining because the town would take complaints only from people who gave their names.

“Towns need to have better dog laws,” she said.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

In some communities, animal control does not address neighbors’ disputes over barking dogs. Ordinances usually cover only licensing, what type of animals you have (no pigs or roosters, for instance), leash requirements and the like.

While power tools and machinery are allowed on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with the exception of emergencies) barking dogs usually fall under the unnecessary noise regulation in suburban/residential communities. In other words,  noise that menaces the health or disturb the peace and quiet are prohibited any time of the day or night.

In some communities, fed-up neighbors are getting creative when it comes to taking matters into their own hands (legally).  Barking Dog Atlas, ( for instance, is a website created by one fed up homeowner that invites people all over the U.S. to anonymously post a photo, video link, and the offending neighbor’s name and address

Of course, as the first step in any neighborly problem, it may help to either speak (nicely) to the neighbor or, to avoid discussing it directly, leave a pleasant note. This may seem obvious, but too many people lose their temper right away. Try to give the neighbor the benefit of the doubt, even if it seems ridiculous. Try and assume everyone wants to be as good a neighbor as you are.

The second step would be a note or call stating that the intention is to work the problem out with the neighbor directly.  Heavy-handed threats of calling the police or animal control should be last options, when all else fails.

Suggesting mediation is also an option. Community mediators are available in most towns, and often the police know how to contact them.

Finally, if there is still no response from the offenders, a warning should be issued to the neighbor that you will go to small claims court or seek redress elsewhere. The trouble is, it’s often not easy to prove, or get the authorities to resolve the problem.

“Some noise laws are distance-based and some are decibel-based,” says Les Blomberg, director of the nonprofit group Noise Pollution Clearinghouse. “Ideally, noise regulations should set a clear line for neighbors — this is allowed, this isn’t.”

But often that isn’t the case.

Sometimes the best route may be a path of least resistance. A noise barrier fence or sound deadening material strategically placed in the yard or home can save a homeowner months or even years of turmoil with a noisy neighbor, provide the peace and privacy that everyone seeks in their home environment, and maintain some semblance of peace with the neighbors.

Noise Complaints Can Pit Neighbor Against Neighbor

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – Almost everyone is assaulted by sound, if not continuously, for a good portion of their waking and sleeping hours.  Traffic, light rail trains, machinery, construction, loud music have turned the home into a retreat. That helps explain why noise is an especially sensitive issue within apartments and condominiums, and why noise complaints can create bitter disputes among residents. Unfortunately, noise is a highly subjective issue, and conflicts can take some savvy to resolve.

When a homeowner’s association member or law enforcement official is sent to mediate an issue involving noise, many times a judgment call is required to determine if an apartment is truly noisy, or if the complainant is overly sensitive to the normal sounds of apartment life. One starting point is to ask yourself if the person raising the issue is prone to complaining; if not, something may well be disturbing a resident’s normal living habits, causing lack of sleep or otherwise disrupting the quality of life. If a landlord or condo board ignores a legitimate complaint, residents can turn to the legal system.

Such is the case, for example, with a retired couple living in a Manhattan prewar co-op, who filed a lawsuit against the board because it failed to take action on an air conditioner that a neighbor had installed through an outside wall. The a/c’s sound and vibrations had created a serious noise condition that negatively affected the quality of life complaining couple had previously enjoyed in the building. A protective sheath put around the air conditioner was not enough to solve the problem, although the board by then had unwisely washed its hands of the unresolved issue, and got itself sued for its lack of responsibility. Noise issues can be even more troublesome when they involve businesses in the building.

Condos, co-ops and apartment boards  have been required to respond to noise complaints ever since the 1995 case Nostrand Gardens Co-op vs. Howard, in which the co-op was found at fault for not having taken “effective steps” to abate the nuisance after a shareholder repeatedly reported “excessive noise emanating from an apartment … throughout the late night and early morning hours.”

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

In the case where a co-op or condo houses a business, such as a club or bar, the law makes the business-owner, not the co-op or condo, responsible for keeping noise below a threshold of being “plainly audible” from 15 feet away. The ordinance also addresses construction noise. If you hire a contractor in some areas of the U.S. to, say, put in a new sidewalk, that contractor, like business-owners in the example above, is the one responsible for keeping down noise. In fact, the law now even states that they have to create “a noise mitigation plan for each construction site,” with a copy of the plan kept available at the site.

Boards themselves are responsible for their staff and for such building-wide equipment as central air-conditioning. For example, if your super uses an air compressor, it needs to be equipped “with an appropriate muffler.” You also can’t have lawn work done on weekdays before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes later, nor on weekends and state/federal holidays except between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“Circulation devices” such as central a/c units on a building’s roof cannot create sound above a certain level as measured from three feet inside an apartment with a window or terrace door open. (If you want the precise figure, it’s a weighted spec of “42 dB[A],” which you can have someone measure with a decibel meter if someone complains about the noise.

When it comes to co-op/condo/apartment residents themselves, however, prevention first, then mediation rather than litigation is the preferred method of resolving a noise dispute. Most of the time, the people involved are neighbors who will continue to live in the building and interact with each other. Turning to litigation as a method of resolving a noise problem can cause friends or acquaintances to turn against each other.

Everyone involved, from the neighbors and the managing agent to the board, should appreciate the seriousness of the issue and try to resolve the problem without forcing one party to resort to litigation. Prevention is best, but if it comes down to it, mediation is almost always a better solution to noise disputes.

Neighbors are Crowing Over Noise-Related Sleep Deprivation

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – A rooster accused of waking up residents in a quaint UK village is being forced to move out after its owner was served with a noise abatement order by the local town council and threatened with court action.

The early morning alarm that comes naturally to Cockadoodle Welch has been disrupting the neighbors’ sleep for months. After weighing in on more than 50 recordings of the young rooster (also known as a cockerel) crowing before 7:30 a.m. over the space of one week, council members intervened on behalf of the sleep-deprived residents by delivering an ultimatum to Cockadoodle’s owner Carl Welch: the rooster, who lives with 12 hens in Welch’s yard, must be relocated or Mr. Welch will find himself in court over the noisy disruption to his neighbors’ peace and quiet.

The headaches began in late 2010 when Mr. Welch thought it would be nice to add chickens to his garden, since his home is in a relatively rural area where outdoor noise is not usually a problem for residents. Mr. Welch says it never occurred to him that the neighbors would take issue when he added the cockerel to the backyard flock.

“As the mornings grew lighter, one of my neighbors complained that the rooster’s crowing was disturbing them in the early mornings,” he said.

“I’ve done everything I can to stop him from crowing really early.

“I brought him inside and covered him up, but I have to leave for work at 7 a.m. so I have no choice but to put him outside at about 6.45 a.m.”

Mr. Welch says Cockadoodle, who has his own Facebook page, would now have to go and live with a friend in another community.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

“It seems a bit ridiculous to me,” Mr Welch says. “I’ve got to re-home him just because I can’t go to work any later.

“I’ve got to stop him from crowing between 6.45 a.m. and 7.30 a.m., but most people are already up and going to work at that time. I don’t even know who’s complained. I’ve asked around and people have said they’ve heard him but it’s a countryside sound so it doesn’t bother them.”

A statutory noise nuisance has been established and as such, the council is duty bound to serve an abatement notice when no sufficient soundproofing material or other noise deadening resolution has been put in place to provide peace and privacy to the neighbors. Mr. Welch has been advised that should the notice be breached, ultimately court proceedings may follow.

“We have a duty to investigate all reports of noise pollution thoroughly and take all complaints to the council seriously,” said a council spokesman.

Although evicting a noisy cockerel on behalf of cranky neighbors may sound like fodder for a stand-up comedy routine, noise-related sleep deprivation can have serious implications; it can interfere with daytime functions that require alertness including driving, operating machinery, working, and watching over children. Ongoing sleep disruption due to noise can also lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure, impaired immune system, irritability, cognitive impairment, memory lapses or loss, anxiety and other health risks.

In many U.S. communities, keeping roosters in residential areas is discouraged due to the noise nuisance they often create. Regulations vary from one community to the next; whereas roosters may violate noise ordinances in one community, they may be in violation of livestock ordinances in another.

If legitimate noise complaints are received against roosters in residential areas, and steps are not taken to create an effective noise barrier to keep the offending wake-up call out of neighboring properties, local governing officials may request the rooster(s) to be removed from the property.

One Man’s Noise

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – When it comes to combating noise pollution, how do U.S. communities take measure of a problem that often does not affect every listener the same way? Samantha Johnson wakes every night at 2 a.m., thanks to the train that barrels behind the house she has lived in for three years.

Her neighbor three houses up says she is never bothered by the train, and has never been woken at night.

“It’s hard for me to believe that any of my neighbors aren’t bothered by the train noise,” Johnson says. “My neighbor says she never hears the trains, and we have never adjusted to them.”

There are two railroad crossings in the downtown area of Johnson’s community,  a bustling area with a mix of homes and  shops, increasing auto traffic and both commuter and freight trains. After some local residents complained about noise from the train and the train whistle, town officials budgeted a study to determine whether a quiet zone should be created downtown.

To Johnson’s dismay, most of her town’s residents haven’t exactly rallied to the “quiet zone” cause.

“We have received a few complaints from three or four  individuals,” said Town Manager Ray Smithson.

“Our residents aren’t gathering en masse to demand we do something about noise, but we try to take the concerns of all our residents seriously, and creating a quiet zone may be a solution.”

Traffic, trains, construction crews hammering first thing in the morning, neighbors with power lawn mowers and noisy heat pumps have all created their fair share of noise.

But what constitutes noise to some people may barely register in the background to others.

John Hammond, an acoustical consultant, has found that noise tolerance is largely subjective. Some people live comfortably in city apartments surrounded by trains, traffic and people, while others living in an isolated country home are kept awake at night by crickets.

Noise is measured in decibels, which Hammond compared to air temperature. Generally, a level of 70 decibels is comfortable, just as 70 degrees is a pleasant temperature. When noise reaches 100 decibels, it hurts.

A soft whisper reaches about 30 decibels, according to the League for the Hard of Hearing. A normal conversation hits 60 decibels, a ringing telephone 80 decibels, a leaf blower 110 decibels and a balloon pop 157 decibels.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

For the most part, background noise such as traffic or even, for some people, airplanes soaring overhead are not what bug us.

A pure tone, a sound that stays in a narrow frequency range, is the most irritating – like the hum from a fluorescent light fixture. Noise that covers a range of frequencies, such as ocean waves or wind blowing through dried leaves, is not usually annoying.

“If you went out to an expressway and you listened to that sound, even though it’s loud and you can’t carry on a conversation, it’s not particularly aggravating to you,” Hammond said. “People will not tolerate a pure tone; for instance, if you had a flute and you played a constant, steady C; hat’s like a pure tone, a very narrow frequency, and it can drive many people to distraction.”

Studies are showing that excessive noise can damage hearing, disrupt sleep, induce stress and generally lower our quality of life. Noise tops the list of complaints people raise about the neighborhoods in which they live, and the hotels in which they spend vacation or business time.

Still, there are no blanket policies on noise at the national level. There was an Office of Noise Abatement and Control within the Environmental Protection Agency, but it was phased out in the early 1980s when federal officials decided noise was best regulated on a local level.

The states regulate traffic noise, conducting studies on new highways and building sound barriers where necessary. Some communities have come up with their own regulations, often after residents lodge noise complaints.

Noise laws vary from town to town.  Some set decibel levels in its noise ordinances, while others rely on law and code enforcement officials to respond when noise levels become unreasonable. The problem is, when officials use a noise meter to measure the decibel level, more often than not the noise meter will show that the noisemaker is within the ordinance limits.

“Rarely is the complaint justified,” Hammond said.

While the decibel limits help lawmakers create ordinances, considering the subjective nature of noise complaints, one person can be unable to function due to noise that does not bother others around him.

Residential Noise Pollution: Living Quietly is More Elusive Than Ever

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – As someone who has been writing about noise pollution for more than three years, I have come to understand the insidious threat that noise is to pretty much everyone on the planet. Yet for some reason, noise pollution is largely ignored by environmental agencies, law enforcement, and ordinary citizens who either don’t understand the toll noise takes on our health and well being, or who think they have no recourse.

After spending the better part of the past three months searching for a new apartment, it dawned on me how much my growing awareness of the poison that is noise has changed my priorities. I’ve always loved city living, and loved living in the heart of downtown Tampa for these past two years. But the relentless barking of miserably sheltered dogs, the pounding bass of passing boom cars, and the continuous buzz of construction noise, neighbors’ stereos, traffic – it has caught up with me. I needed to move, but I set out looking for a nice first floor apartment in a gated community.

However, after traipsing through half a dozen of these idyllic communities – Tampa is loaded with them – I realized quickly that, although the dogs barking were smaller (a different kind of annoying) and the boom cars were absent, the ambient noise was hardly improved. Traffic noise from busy nearby highways still seep in, along with other modern noise culprits.

Uncontrolled noise pollution has infiltrated our living spaces to such a degree, many people don’t realize the toll it’s taking. It’s not uncommon to tell oneself that you’ve grown used to certain noises in your environment; air traffic, if you live near an airport for instance, or the drone of a neighbor’s heat pump. Unfettered noise can not only harm our quality of life, but it can reduce property values as our neighborhoods become less sought after place to live.

Noise pollution is tricky. It’s not visible, and often highly subjective. In residential communities, noise pollution frequently occurs when the “perpetrator” is not home to control it, and often stops before law enforcement can confirm there’s a problem. Unfortunately, it is a low priority for police, who are the respondents in most communities to noise complaints.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

Because of the lack of attention paid to noise pollution – another Earth Day just passed without a mention of it – most people suffer in silence, not wanting to have a problem with the people behind the source of the noise, or simply believing complaining does no good. Some noise can be troubling to one person and not bother another at all. Such subjectivity over what noise is problematic can add another obstacle to finding a workable resolution. Yet studies show that people consistently rank noise as an important quality of life issue. When noise levels are consistently high, humans suffer from stress and stress-related illness.

Perhaps the greatest concern now is that over time, as noise pollution becomes more common in residential communities, everyone’s expectations of how quiet their neighborhood should be will decrease. People will complain less, and just try to live with it—to the detriment of their quality of life, health, and neighborhood.

Perhaps because I come from a large family, as an adult I have always appreciated peace and quiet wherever I can get it. In recent years, when I choose places to spend my vacations I seek quiet surroundings more often than not; I used to head straight for New York, Paris, Madrid – now I seek the quietest beach or most isolated corner I can afford to get to. I have developed tinnitus, which is more common than it should be, although I can’t tell you when – my ears had been ringing for years before I actually took note of it. Today, one in three people I ask tell me they have tinnitus, and have had it for years.

Since writing about the effects of noise on humans, wildlife, and even plant life (noise kills trees!) I have learned a lot about the effects of noise in different areas of the world. India, for instance, contains the world’s noisiest city – Mumbai – and the noise related health problems of Mumbai residents are bordering catastrophic. To its credit, the Indian government is beginning to enforce some of the strict noise ordinances recently put in place, but India’s culture is a noisy one. It will take years of education and enforcement to undo generations of traditions and lifestyles in which noise is a common part of the fabric.

Sound abatement technology keeps improving, and some industries are beginning to embrace it – often due either to pressure from government or irritated neighbors. But 21st century lifestyles have incorporated new and growing noise control challenges that more people have to identify and address.

When the hazards of second hand cigarette smoke first became an issue, many people scoffed, but eventually everyone listened and people either learned to isolate their smoking from others, or they quit. Taking control of noise pollution is going to require the same style of self awareness and self-discipline  – wearing headphones when you want to blast the music (although you’ll still be hammering your own hearing); finding an alternative to the boom car for public coolness; placing noise abatement solutions around noisy HVAC units, pool pumps, and generators. Mowing grass and using power tools when your neighbors are not trying to sleep or sit down to dinner.

There are other sounds over which we have no control – emergency vehicle sirens, police helicopters, commercial aircrafts, industrial vehicles, industrial machinery, and – oh yes  the neighbor’s barking dog.

It is not realistic to think we can completely control noise, nor is it realistic to believe that local police should be interventionists when the neighbor’s noise levels are keeping us awake. People need to be educated about the effects of noise pollution on everyone’s life and health, and from there, take action. No more passive acceptance of noise pollution in our neighborhoods because much of it can be curtailed with simple common sense and courtesy. Special noise enforcement units should be set up separately from law enforcement, staffed with people trained in acoustics and sound measuring, who work full time at controlling noise pollution.