Articles Quiet Coalition2021-05-12T11:07:49-04:00


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2005, 2022

What Is a quietway?

May 20th, 2022|

Photo courtesy of Dr. Daniel Fink

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

“What is a quietway?” I wondered what it was when I saw the Quietway sign on a recent trip to London.

I had to search the internet to learn that London is establishing bicycle routes on less trafficked streets to encourage bicycle use by those who might avoid heavy traffic. These routes will be quieter for the riders, and also for the neighborhoods through which they ride.

London has made great efforts to encourage bicycle use. They seem to be working. We saw many more bicycle riders in London than we do in Los Angeles, which has much better weather that is more suited to cycling.

Maybe Los Angeles and other American cities, especially in the southwest, can adopt some of the ideas London is using.

A quieter world in which people can get healthy exercise while reducing noise and their carbon footprints will be a healthier world for all

1905, 2022

California may launch a noise camera pilot program

May 19th, 2022|

Photo credit: Ignacio Palés

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

With cities like New York, Paris, and London setting up pilot programs to use noise cameras to identify vehicles traversing the streets and imposing excessive and harmful sound levels on city residents, we now learn that California is getting ready to implement noise cameras in six of its cities. The legislation is awaiting the signature of California Governor Gavin Newsom so that the program can start on January 1, 2023.

While Californian cities already have set decibel levels for exhaust systems for automobiles like other cities internationally, enforcement similarly has been a problem. It is hoped that cameras identifying loud vehicles will enable greater enforcement. As part of its pilot program, signs will inform drivers when they are entering roads employing noise cameras. Additionally, first time offenders will not be fined. Cities that will be part of this program will choose the roads that will be part of the pilot project. Other aspects of the program are still being worked out. The article also notes that there are some automobile models that already exceed the set decibel levels

1805, 2022

What makes a city less noisy?

May 18th, 2022|

Photo credit: Daniel Durin

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

What makes a city less noisy? Soundproofist recently discussed this after its founder visited Copenhagen. He notes that it’s really urban design that helps make a city quieter, including efforts to increase bicycle travel, reduce or eliminate vehicular traffic, and improve public transit, especially light rail, combined with architectural standards meant to conserve energy in colder climates that also reduce indoor sound levels.

Of interest, I learned that European cities over 100,000 population are required to produce sound maps every few years. Soundproofist has a list of these noise maps. As Soundproofist states, “soundscape analysis and planning can help to minimize excessive human-generated or machine-generated noise issues that impact human health. US cities should do the same.”

We couldn’t agree more because a quieter world with less pollution from internal combustion engines will be a better and healthier world for all.

1705, 2022

NYC Councilmember speaks out against helicopter noise

May 17th, 2022|

Photo credit: Rusty Blazenhoff licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In her opinion piece in the New York Daily News, New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer tells us how often she hears from Manhattanites who are constantly being exposed to helicopter noise. Tourists and wealthy travelers, she says, enjoy traveling by helicopter over Manhattan, but the residents on the ground have to suffer from the constant noise above their heads. Yet, as Brewer’s piece notes, New York City has limited ability to regulate its own airspace and cannot restrict flights from out of state.

The Federal Aviation Administration has the authority over aircraft noise, and Brewer believes the FAA could step in with regard to helicopter noise in New York City as it has in other areas. To add to the problem, chartered helicopters which may be flying inappropriately cannot even be identified because they can block their tail numbers.

New York City, with its limited authority regarding helicopter flights, was permitted in 2016 to restrict flights on Sundays and to reduce flights on

1605, 2022

Las Vegas lawn ban has a silver lining

May 16th, 2022|

Photo credit: jan buchholtz licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

There’s an old saying that every cloud has a silver lining. I’m not sure that’s true, but many clouds–or in this case, no rain cloud in Las Vegas–may indeed have a silver lining.

As this report in The New York Times describes, the western U.S. is facing a severe drought. No rain clouds, no snow clouds in the winter, in Las Vegas or in Colorado, where the Colorado River originates, in Rocky Mountain National Park. Water levels in Lake Mead, the reservoir on the Colorado River providing water for Las Vegas, is at historically low levels.

As a result, Las Vegas has banned green lawns with rare exceptions. “Non-functional” lawns that only serve a decorative purpose are being ripped up and replaced with native plants more appropriate to a desert climate.

What’s the silver lining? Aside from reduced water use and benefits to the local ecosystem, there may be less use of gas-powered lawn maintenance equipment.

A quieter world, with less air pollution from noisy two-stroke gasoline engines, will be a better and healthier world for all.

1305, 2022

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 13th, 2022|

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

As I’ve written before, I don’t like special days or months. I think that if something is important, it should be thought about all the time, not just on a special day or month. But I’ve also acknowledged that these special days and months remind us of someone or something important, be it our mothers, the environment, or in this case, Better Hearing and Speech Month, sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

This information page from ASHA has lots of informative links if you want more information.

I particularly like this Safe Listening infographic, which states that “[s]ounds at 70 decibels (dBA) or lower are generally safe to listen to for an extended period of time.”

Seventy decibels is the only evidence-based safe noise level to prevent noise induced hearing loss. I wrote about that in the American Journal of Public Health five years ago. If you don’t believe me, see what the experts at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have to say.

One thing for sure: the oft-cited 85 dB level is derived from occupational noise exposure recommendations and does not prevent hearing loss in workers. It’s far

1205, 2022

When noise pollution is in your home

May 12th, 2022|

Photo credit: Kampus Production

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

This BBC article starts with the complaint of a wife who cannot stand her husband’s snores and how he has tried to cure the problems, but the author, Natalie Lisbona, quickly identifies other disturbing noises, like road and highway sounds and noisy neighbors, that also interfere with sleep. Lisbona writes that “noise pollution can have a detrimental impact on mental health,” and she notes that the European Environmental Agency has estimated that “long term exposure causes 12,000 premature deaths per year across the European Union.”

Thus, what do we do to lessen the noises in our lives? Ear plugs and noise-canceling headphones have been used for years. Now, we learn of a new technology developed by an Israeli business company named Silentium that uses a microphone that can listen to the unwanted sound and with an accompanying speaker can emit “a noise that cancels it out.” The husband’s snoring can be cancelled out by a speaker and sensors attached to the bed’s headboard.

While the noise cancellation employed by this technology has existed in headphones for a number of years,

1105, 2022

The effects of noise on health

May 11th, 2022|

Photo credit: See-ming Lee licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Most people, most audiologists, and most doctors don’t know that noise has non-auditory health effects, but it does.

The scientific evidence is ample and incontrovertible, and well-known in Europe, even if that body of knowledge hasn’t crossed the Atlantic Ocean. That evidence underlies the World Health Organization’s Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region.

This article in Harvard Medicine, published by Harvard Medical School, reviews some of the evidence. As author Stephanie Dutchen notes:

In sectors from government regulation to health care practice, the threats posed by noise remain “often underestimated,” according to the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise.

Researchers and clinicians are trying to change this. They’ve shown that noise pollution not only drives hearing loss, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to sound, but can cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease; type 2 diabetes; sleep disturbances; stress; mental health and cognition problems, including memory impairment and attention deficits; childhood learning delays; and low birth weight. Scientists are investigating other possible links, including to dementia.

Research also reveals how noise pollution connects with climate change. Many contributors

1005, 2022

Oahu residents plead with lawmakers to combat noise

May 10th, 2022|

Photo credit: Jess Loiterton

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

While it may be difficult to think of beautiful Waikiki Beach, Hawaii as a place overwhelmed by noise intrusions, Chad Blair’s article lets you know otherwise. Blair does this by describing the loud sounds of motorcycles and boom boxes and the rowdy tourists attending late night bars and restaurants that make it difficult for residents like Mark Travis to enjoy his Waikiki neighborhood. Thus, Travis enthusiastically supports the bill that would “prohibit the issuance of cabaret licenses to businesses” in mixed-use districts in Waikiki.

As is true in so many other cities and towns, passing legislation dealing with noise issues pits businesses against residents. This, indeed, creates problems for local public officials. Travis and his associates will have to fight hard to get the legislation they need to live more comfortably in their homes. Will they be successful? With so many noise-control measures that have already been turned down by his state legislature, e. g. restriction on leaf blowers, fines for installing noisy mufflers, setting noise limits on helicopters, forbidding late night deliveries, setting up a task force

905, 2022

Why are cetaceans stranding themselves on China’s coasts?

May 9th, 2022|

Photo credit: 7inchs

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Cetaceans are whales. What’s leaving them stranded on China’s coasts?

The Sixth Tone website–surprisingly (at least to me), sponsored by the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Communist Party–claims to offer a fresh perspective on what it calls “the uncommon stories of common people.” The name of the website refers to the five tones in the spoken Chinese language. Sixth Tone features translations and cross-publications from respected Chinese and international media outlets, as selected and edited by Sixth Tone.

And it’s surprising to see coverage of noise pollution in a publication sponsored by one of the world’s great polluters. In this case, though, the pollution isn’t coming from coal, or from industrial waste dumped on the ground or in rivers–it’s coming from anthropogenic noise.

As the report notes:

Over the past 30 years, the number of reported cetacean strandings — including mass strandings — has increased rapidly along China’s extensive coastline, according to a February study from the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. About one-third of them have been identified as threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The recent stranding of a sperm

605, 2022

Noise as a public health problem

May 6th, 2022|

Photo credit: Neil R licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

What’s the difference between a health problem and a public health problem?

A health problem affects an individual, a patient. A public health problem affects populations, in communities.

This editorial by me and Quiet Communities president, Jamie Banks, PhD, MSc, draws attention to the American Public Health Association’s updated policy statement on noise.  Dr. Banks chairs the APHA Noise and Health Committee, on which I serve, and led the team in writing the new policy.  It took months of work to research the science on noise and health, assess the current status of noise legislation and regulations in the United States, and develop federal, state, and local policy recommendations and several more months to go through the process of review and adoption by APHA. The editorial was written to engage hearing health professionals in educating and raising awareness about noise and its harmful effects, not only on hearing but also non-hearing health.

We hope this article will help hearing health professionals understand that the dangers of noise extend far beyond hearing loss in their patients.

505, 2022

Forget about personality. Remember those the law was meant to protect.

May 5th, 2022|

This photo by Pete Souza is in the public domain

by Jeanine Botta, MPH, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition

A year ago I wrote an article that asked, Will pedestrian warning sounds be discernible? I raised concerns about the intended purpose of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010–-to protect blind and visually impaired pedestrians from electric cars whose approach was exquisitely quiet–-becoming lost in the midst of the broad and ever-increasing din of acoustic vehicle alerts. The issue is not as much about noise as it is about the meaning of sound.

At first it seemed auspicious when news of Tesla’s voluntary Boombox recall was announced on February 4, 2022. The recall was a response to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s claim that the feature poses a safety risk because it can render pedestrian warning sounds inaudible. Tesla’s Boombox feature introduced software that allows drivers to “turn their cars into a boombox” by emitting sound effects through external speakers intended for pedestrian warning sounds. Every news outlet covering the announcement stated simply that Boombox capability would be disabled, and repeated the Tesla CEO’s quip that NHTSA was the “fun police.”

But Boombox was

405, 2022

The best wireless Bluetooth earbuds may be none at all

May 4th, 2022|

Photo credit: Soulful Pizza

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Quiet Coalition does not endorse products or manufacturers and has no commercial or other relationships with any company or other organization, helping guarantee our independence.

So I write somewhat hesitantly about The New York Times Wirecutter’s article about the three best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for 2022, both because of the Wirecutter site–it obtains revenue if people order the products recommended or mentioned through the links in the online article–but I think it’s important to spread the word that earbud use–and headphone use, for that matter–may not be safe for auditory health.

Why not? To overcome ambient noise–background noise on the street, in a coffee shop or store, etc.–users have to turn up the volume above 70 decibels. With noise colleague Jan Mayes, I wrote two relevant articles based on our presentations at last year’s Acoustical Society of America meeting. The article based on my presentation made the point that noise exposure in everyday life is sufficient to cause noise-induced hearing loss. The one based on Jan’s presentation reviewed the dangers of personal audio systems–also called personal music players or personal listening devices–to hearing.

According to the Centers for

305, 2022

Paris aims to curtail vehicle noise

May 3rd, 2022|

Photo credit: Jeffrey Czum

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In earlier posts, I informed readers that Paris was pilot testing a camera that could identify drivers and motorcycle riders who were in violation of the existing sound regulations by their license plates. This sound radar has been installed in other French cities as well. In this latest Bloomberg article by Peter Yeung, we learn that Paris believes that in 2023 it will be able to fine drivers and motorcyclists if their vehicles break the set noise levels. We also learn in this article that the company, Bruitparif, that developed the Medusa noise camera found in its research that “a single unmuffled scooter crossing Paris at night can wake as many as 10,000 people.” Parisians, I am confident, will welcome a device that protects their sleep.

Yeung goes on to let his readers know that Paris recognizes that noise is indeed a health hazard and that its first Noise Plan included installing sound barriers along a major roadway and increasing roadside noise checks. It now will supplement this Noise Plan by introducing other measures in “its war

205, 2022

Noise police in Palm Springs, California

May 2nd, 2022|

Photo credit: Patrick Pelster licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The headline in the print version of the Los Angeles Times is “The party police are watching you,” but the Times is really writing about noise police.

Palm Springs has been a getaway location since the early twentieth century, and as the Times notes:

Is now a year-round tourist draw thanks to its art scene, progressive sensibilities, and poolside vibes. Big annual events, such as the Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival and the Stagecoach country music festival, both in nearby Indio, as well as several tennis and golf championships, bring in thousands of additional visitors.

In 2017, Palm Springs adopted regulations for short-term rentals, including prohibiting generating music or loud noise that can be heard beyond the property line. The fine for the first violation is a hefty $500, escalating to $1,000 for the second violation and $1,500 for the third. After the third citation in a 12-month period, the city suspends the landlord’s rental permit for two years. Since average nightly rentals are $700 with rentals during the various events going as high as $1,700, landlords have an incentive to

2904, 2022

What tinnitus taught Jan Mayes

April 29th, 2022|

Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Our noise colleague and my coauthor Jan Mayes has a wonderful, personal article in the current issue of Hearing Health Magazine, sharing with the reader how an unfortunate accident inspired her to become an audiologist.

Jan was in a motor vehicle crash and suffered whiplash and a concussion. She developed tinnitus after that, and was told by her doctors that nothing could be done. So she switched her major from speech language pathology to audiology, and worked as an audiologist until retirement. As Jan explains, having tinnitus taught her empathy for her patients.

I’m sure Jan helped thousands of patients more empathetically than the typical audiologist, because she understood what it was like to have an auditory disorder.

Jan and I “met” when she sent The Quiet Coalition an email commenting on something I had written, and after exchanging several emails I asked her to write a blog post.

We subsequently wrote an article for American Family Physician, “Making Recommendations to Reduce Noise Exposure,” and then I suggested that Jan submit an abstract to the June 2021 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

Jan’s insightful presentation about the dangers of

2704, 2022

Today is International Noise Awareness Day

April 27th, 2022|

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

International Noise Awareness Day was initiated in 1996 by the Center for Hearing and Communication and I was thrilled when Nancy Nadler, Deputy Executive Director of the Center, asked me to join her and CHC in establishing International Noise Awareness Day which would be celebrated the fourth Wednesday in April. The first year of INAD was to take place on April 24th and was planned as a local activity but news of a day to highlight the dangers of noise to our mental and physical health and well-being spread to other cities quickly, e. g. Vancouver, Canada. By 2000, INAD was recognized across the USA and in 38 countries. This year marks the 27th anniversary of INAD and more information about the activities that one can engage in on that day can be found at the Center for Hearing and Communication website.

International Noise Awareness Day also acknowledges the importance of quiet spaces and parks to our health and well-being. This year the Right to Quiet Society, located in Vancouver, will be holding a virtual INAD event entitled “Quiet Parks and Quiet

2604, 2022

The fight for quiet streets in Moab, Utah

April 26th, 2022|

Photo credit: Chris Janda

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Posters and signs are often used to remind people about activities they should not engage in. For example, “Curb your dog” and “Keep Off” signs are frequently placed near small green areas and back yards in New York City. These signs are known as prompts and they are generally effective because most people abide by them. To get some quiet in their homes, especially from off-highway vehicles traveling along a nearby major thoroughfare, Pete Gross and his neighbors in Moab, Utah are placing “WE SUPPORT QUIET STREETS” signs in their back yards.

Despite having a house with thick walls and double-paned windows, Gross says the noise from the nearby thoroughfare still can be heard within his home. One should note that the signs also have pictures of birds; thus, pointing to the pleasant sounds that are welcomed in our environment. However, there is also a political message to these signs. The Utah State Legislature recently barred counties from regulating off-highway vehicles through business licensing but kept in place Moab’s noise ordinance. This ordinance is aimed at limiting the

2504, 2022

Could Pfizer’s COVID vaccine cause hearing loss?

April 25th, 2022|

Photo credit: Maksim Goncharenok

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report on Medscape discusses a possible link between the Pfizer COVID vaccine and hearing loss. I think the Medscape headline overstates the case. A possible statistical association, rather than a link, would appear to be more accurate.

As noted in the report, a World Health Organization newsletter reported that out of 11 billion COVID vaccine doses given worldwide, there were reports of 164 cases of hearing loss and 367 cases of tinnitus, with 80% of those complaining of these auditory symptoms having received the Pfizer vaccine. I couldn’t find how many were Pfizer, but more than 330 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered in the U.S. alone. I got two of them.

I wouldn’t call this statistical association of a rare event a link, and I certainly wouldn’t worry about getting a third or now recommended fourth COVID vaccine dose.

The COVID vaccines are among the safest and most effective vaccines for human disease ever developed, and they are very effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID, especially in older people.

We’re interested in preventing hearing loss and tinnitus from noise exposure, but if you’re dead,

2204, 2022

Today is Earth Day. A quieter world will be better for us all

April 22nd, 2022|

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The first Earth Day took place exactly 52 years ago, April 22, 1970. The environmental movement was still in its infancy, kickstarted by Rachel Carson’s 1962 New Yorker article Silent Spring, which was published as a book later in the year. We learned from Carson that all the economic developments and technological advances of the postwar period weren’t unalloyed goods, and that they were wreaking havoc on the environment.

The National Environmental Policy Act became law on January 1, 1970, and President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency by executive order later in the year.

Noise had been recognized as a public health hazard in 1968 and the Noise Control Act was signed into law in 1972. As the NCA stated:

The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare. To that end, it is the purpose of this Act to establish a means for effective coordination of Federal research and activities in noise control, to authorize the establishment of Federal noise emission standards for products distributed in commerce, and to provide information to

2104, 2022

International Noise Awareness Day Forum coming up

April 21st, 2022|

Photo credit:

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

To celebrate the 27th annual International Noise Awareness Day on April 27th from Noon to 1:30 pm (Pacific Time), the Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection invites everyone to a virtual forum that will look at the benefits of protecting the quiet spaces in our environment from the harmful effects of noise pollution. The Right to Quiet operates out of Vancouver, Canada.

I am a Right to Quiet Board member, and I will introduce the forum by discussing the origin of International Noise Awareness Day established by the Center for Hearing and Communication and its impact over the past twenty-six years. Speakers will include Ulf Bohman from Sweden, Francesco Aletta from UK/Italy, and David Sadoway from British Columbia, all speaking on how the quiet spaces in our environment, including urban areas, can facilitate our health and well-being.

Click here is the information needed to attend the Right to Quiet INAD forum.

2004, 2022

Animal sounds are too precious to be drowned out by human noise

April 20th, 2022|

Photo credit: NADExRioTic from Pexels

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Neel Dhanesha has written a lovely article in Vox where he interviewed University of the South biology professor David Haskell about his new book Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. It should be read by all.

I had never heard of Haskell, but I should have. His first book, The Forest Unseen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

In the interview, Dhanesha discuses the history on noise on the earth and the problems with too much noise now.

One point Haskell makes is that the oceans are a noise hell for the fishes and marine mammals (and probably invertebrates and plankton, too) who live in it. Cities may be noisy, but the noise has meaning. Propeller noise, or noise from air cannons or explosive charges used for underwater mapping and resource detection, merely kills animals near the noise source, drive others away, and interfere with detection of food or prey and communication needed for hunting, mating, or raising young.

Haskell also discusses the important connection between flowering plants and sound.

The article covers too much material to summarize here. You’re going

1904, 2022

London Underground noise complaints on the rise

April 19th, 2022|

Photo credit: Roy Reyna from Pexels

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Thomas Mackintosh, BBC, writes in his recent article on the London Underground that there has been increase in noise complaints, especially on its Northern and Victoria lines. Transport for London responded to this by saying that noise coming from the tracks “can be from normal wear and tear, track faults or misaligned joints.” The agency goes on to say that it carries out regular inspections of the system and makes track improvements when necessary.

Mackintosh quotes London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan who said that Transport for London was well aware of the importance of minimizing noise levels, adding that there was an ongoing program to renew and maintain the rail and the track.

But if appropriate renewal and maintenance programs are taking place regularly, why have noise complaints risen?

Over forty years ago, after conducting a study that demonstrated elevated train noise could disrupt classroom learning in a school located near the elevated tracks in Upper Manhattan, I became especially interested in the noise levels of New York City’s transit system. With respect to the noise at the

1804, 2022

Auditory cortex stimulation improves speech perception over background noise

April 18th, 2022|

Photo credit: Bradley P. Ander, et al. licensed under CC BY 4.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report on Medical Net discusses an unexpected finding: stimulation of the auditory cortex helped an epilepsy patient understand speech in a simulated noisy environment. An epilepsy patient was having brain surgery with electrodes implanted to try to delineate where the abnormal electrical impulses causing the seizures were coming from. Electrodes implanted near a part of the auditory cortex called the planum temporale seemed to help the patient understand speech with background noise.

Understanding speech in a noisy room, following one conversation among many, is a complex neurological task. Speech-in-noise difficulty is very common in midlife and there are currently no good treatments.

I hope this chance finding in one patient with epilepsy will lead to a better understanding of speech-in-noise difficulty, and perhaps to better treatments in the future

1504, 2022

Quieter FedEx delivery trucks are here

April 15th, 2022|

Photo by Dr. Daniel Fink

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

I was doing some yard work when a FedEx truck pulled up to a neighbor’s house. Unlike most FedEx trucks, with too-noisy diesel engines, this one was quiet. I went over to take a look and couldn’t find the brand, but it was labeled Electric Vehicle and there was a logo I had never seen before on the grille.

I waited until the driver returned to her truck and asked, “What brand truck is this?” “BrightDrop,” she answered.

I had never heard of BrightDrop. It’s an all-electric delivery truck manufactured by General Motors. BrightDrop trucks are specifically designed for delivery. Much less noise, no air pollution from the truck themselves.

According to online information, FedEx has ordered 500 trucks. That number may be out of date.

I hope FedEx, UPS, and Amazon order lots of electric delivery vehicles, to make the air both quieter and cleaner. And I hope one drives on your street instead of the noisy diesel-powered delivery trucks.

Because a cleaner and quieter world will be a better place for all.

NOTE: The Quiet Coalition does not endorse products or services. It has no relationships, commercial or otherwise, with any manufacturer

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