Noise, and the ways we cope

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - Rob Maclellan

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]­prot­con­sult­

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