Rotten Apple: Noise Pollution Spoils Life for New Yorkers

The fact that New York is loud is unlikely to surprise anyone. But despite decades of noise abatement efforts, the contributors to noise pollution keep multiplying. As scientists recognize the multitude of negative health impacts, what can be done?

"Silence has become a luxury in New York that only a scant few can truly afford, and cultural, technological and economic changes in recent years have added to the din everyone else must endure, creating not just one culprit, but many," writes Cara Buckley. In an in-depth article, she examines the sources of the growing din (both inside and outside), steps that some are taking to lower the volume, and the health impacts of all that noise. 

"Interviews with residents in affected areas, officials, soundproofing professionals and audio experts not only confirm the creep in round-the-clock outside noise, but suggest that its potential ill effects can rival those caused by deliberately manipulated, high-decibel assaults inside stores, clubs and restaurants. Some contend that the city, despite its efforts, has shown a distinct reluctance to crack down on certain offenders, like construction companies, especially in recent years."

“For every step forward in terms of technology, we’re taking a step back in terms of how we use that technology,” said Rick Neitzel, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan Risk Science Center. “That’s not to say society has gotten louder. But in terms of inescapability it is true. Our noise levels on average might be the same. But they’re spread so much throughout the day you really have no respite.”

Full Story: Behind City’s Painful Din, Culprits High and Low

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