Photo credit: Oscar Ovalle
by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies
Linda Briskin lets her readers know that she disliked noise from the time she was a child. Apparently, the sounds of anger from her family led her to hide under her bed and in closets. She did not even like birthday parties as a child because she feared the sound of balloons bursting. Briskin admits that she embraces terms such as “misophonic” to describe her dislike of noises and even admits to a mild case of hyperacusis. To deal with the noises around her, she carries earplugs wherever she goes.
So, what action would she take to lessen noise in our environment and enhance silence? She is considering starting a group called “Society of Noise Resisters and Silence Warriors.”
Briskin writes about the health hazards of noise to humans as well as the dangers of noise to other species in our world. She seeks out places, like libraries, that value silence, and she writes about a New York City bar, Burp Castle, that urges their guests to whisper. She also writes about musicians who value silence. Briskin took time in her essay to recognize the Quiet Communities’ efforts to get communities to use low sound level lawn equipment as a “small victory.” And Briskin recognizes that there are pleasant sounds in our environment that can be comforting–-sounds of birds and the wind. But does she really want the world to go silent?
I contacted Briskin, who lives in Toronto, and told her how interesting I found her essay, as I believe our readers will too. I added that with her interest in reducing noise pollution and her quest for more silent times that she might join a group in Toronto that has been advocating for less noise. She responded that she is “a bit connected” to a Toronto anti-noise group and she plans to write more about noise. I look forward to her future pieces.