Noise, and the ways we cope
Just short of seven thirty in the morning, it started – noise.
It was the type of noise that sends you to the windows on all sides of your house to see what is going on and what could possibly be making that racket.
You know what I mean; the rumble of heavy machinery that drones on in the background and can drive you crazy after a while.
You see, we have new neighbours.
The old neighbours left for parts unknown, the “SOLD” sign came down, and now we have the heavy equipment next door to contend with.
My wife seems to think they’re laying drainage pipe and perhaps doing improvements to the driveway closest to our property. Whatever it is, it is quite annoying.
is recent annoyance got me to thinking about all the noise we have in our lives and, quite frankly, I see nothing positive about it.
It is a simple search online to find all kinds of scholarly articles about how noise affects our concentration, cognition, and behaviours.
It is a known stressor, and it can be downright dangerous when it affects our perceptions of the space around us.
Many people nd it very relax- ing to listen to music when they are driving, and I number among those folks; however, get us in a strange city or neighbourhood looking for a particular street address and we reach to turn down the radio volume, as if somehow our ears are connected to our eyes.
If we need to turn down the radio at these times, then that demonstrates that listening to music while driving is a distraction. is is something to think about.
Many people feel like they get used to the constant drone of familiar sounds in the background, whether it is traffic whizzing by along a busy street, or the hum of people talking and phones ringing in the o ce environment.
Try to concentrate on an important task at your desk though, and that noise hammers against your thinking processes, and can cause you to be unfocused and irritable.
Consciously, there are some sounds you never get used to.
The periodic intervals of these kinds of noises, even after many years, can cause you to become irritable and maybe even to use bad language.
My wife and I live in South Colchester along the secondary highway between Brookfield and Stewiacke.
The neighbours on either side of us are not really too close, and on the plus side, we have no neighbours across the road from our house.
What we do have across the road from us is a set of train tracks.
Just to the south of our house is a private whistle crossing and a little father up to our north is another whistle crossing.
When the various trains are on their northerly or southerly treks along this set of tracks, they blow their whistles ahead of both spots.
Some train engineers are quite thoughtful and only give short toots, while other train engineers lay on the horn as if they’re in some kind of parade.
After living in our house for almost 30 years, we can mostly sleep through these nightly noise intrusions, but these train whistles can sneak up on us during the day and almost make us jump.
If we’re watching television at the time, then we either have to pause what we’re watching, or crank up the TV volume, which makes even more noise.
Guests who stay at our cottage rental property down shore, many of whom live in large town or cities, frequently comment on how quiet it is there.
Except for the occasional allterrain vehicle passing by, all you can hear is the sowing of the winds, bird calls and the lapping of the waves against our shoreline.
Our guests comment on how peaceful and relaxing they nd this experience to be.
Clearly, noise and specific types of sounds can a ect our well-being.
What compromises are we prepared to make to reduce or eliminate the background noise in our lives, thus enhancing our quality of life? Rob Maclellan is an advocate for education and non-pro t organizations. He can be reached at 902-305-0311 or at [email protected]protconsulting.com.