Photo credit: AvgeekJoe licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Nina Berman is journalism professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism who spent the 2020-2021 academic year as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She published this report about the deafening noise made by Growler jets on Whidbey Island and the greater Puget Sound area and in Vermont. They will soon also to be deployed near Madison, Wisconsin.

The Growlers are very loud, producing sound pressure levels greater than 120 dBA (A-weighted decibels). This is about four times as loud as hearing a jackhammer only five feet away.

The Quiet Coalition’s Arline Bronzaft, PhD, is quoted extensively in the article. As Dr. Bronzaft notes, noise is physical and physiological phenomenon with psychological implications. Additional information is available in an article on the Truthout site.

The psychological impacts of noise beyond our control induce a sense of helplessness in the listener. Sounds this loud are also sufficient to cause auditory damage, reported to be a problem for children exposed to the Growler noise in Vermont.

Unfortunately, as Prof. Berman concludes, “for the most part, these concerns are falling on deaf ears, and residents have few resources available to protect themselves.”

We hope that by calling attention to this problem, Prof. Berman’s article and an accompanying video will change that.