Saturday, May 12, 2018

Noise in the Night

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Effects of even low level noise

In the mythology of noise effects, a level of acceptance of the inevitable has become attached to the noise figure 55db. This is a quiet urban environment, the noise level in ordinary restaurants, the level where conversation is still possible.
But current research tells us otherwise. The following url leads to an article warning of medical research into the effect of male fertility, and, in passing, other health risks, of those 55dbs.

Of course, in medical matters borders are rarely exact, there are other sources of threats to health, air pollution, unhealthy food, the stress of modern living, not to speak of the addictions of personal weakness, alcohol, nicotine, etc.. But here is the warning that the article carries against the threat which increases, as it neutralizes our power to monitor it due to impaired hearing:
"You don’t have to live under a flight path or next to a nightclub to be bothered by noise. Surprisingly low levels of noise – above 55 decibels (the equivalent of light traffic or an air conditioner) – especially at night is not only annoying but detrimental to health. Noise pollution is, warns the World Health Organization, a growing hazard, second only to air pollution in its ill effects. It is obviously linked to sleep disturbance but also to heart attacks, tinnitus, strokes and even obesity.", The Guardian, 4th July 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Plague of Construction Noise.

The never-ending curse of city noise. (A view from my bedroom window)
An article in a recent issue of "The Guardian" reminds us of a much worse situation in Bangkok, and of course, elsewhere in Thailand, the unending plague of construction noise. Guardian readers, of course, suffer from an elevated source of noise, neighbours who construct two story underground wine cellars, whereas we in Bangkok suffer the plebian pounding of pile drivers, adding further weight to our city destined to sink slowly underwater. Meanwhile the frantic rush before doomsday to cover every square centimeter of land space and raise higher piles to block the sky, goes on.
The article, "Why is the quiet life in Britain reserved for the rich?", by one Mary Dejevsky, was published on Wednesday 26th April, and may be accessed at

The tone of the article is carried in the following brief extract:
"Those who work from home – an increasing number – or who are housebound because of frailty or illness have little choice but to suffer in silence, or rather what used to be silence, but is now the pounding of demolition balls, the constant vibration from the excavators and the ear-splitting agony of heavy-duty drills. That is before the constant wheezing of ill-conditioned lorries, and the dust that penetrates everything, everywhere."

Recognise the feeling?
But then there are regulations, possibly EU inspired and which may soon be jettisoned as the UK is returned to its  "rightful  owners" under Brexit:
"There are regulations, of course. But these allow continuous and almost limitless noise from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, which hardly gives those who do not leave home for 9-5 work much choice but to batten down the hatches and insert the earplugs. There are supposed to be air quality and noise controls, too. But they are lax compared with most European standards; construction companies are well versed in where to place such devices (to least effect), and enforcement by cash-strapped councils – whether on hours or decibels – leaves a lot to be desired."
Oh for such a relief in Thailand!
 The article sets the field of play. But the gist is in the comments submitted by readers who tend to be an unruly bunch . There, is matter for tears and laughter, which we leave to the private perusal of our blog readers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This handmade xylophone plays Bach in the middle of a serene forest in Japan

Quiet Bangkok does not favour absolute silence! Especially when the art of man respects the wonder of nature

This website is a rare pleasure to eye and ear:

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Urban noise polution and loss of hearing

News has been appearing, mostly sourced by AFP, regarding date on the link between Urban Noise Pollution and loss of hearing. However, the news has been presented in very elementary form and is unhelpful to those affected. Quiet Bangkok has succeeded in tracking the original source:
This webpage presents the data for a survey of 50 large cities, but no, Bangkok not included!
However, there is a wealth of information. A self-testing appliance. And useful hints for self care.
It is interesting that newspapers around the world carrying the news are mostly from the noisy third world!

After a long hiatus, because of other pressing issues, Quiet Bangkok is re-entering the battle against noise is this benighted city.
A wish of Good Hearing Health. See the wonderful 7 HEARING TIPS on this site. Listen to the different sounds of Vienna and Barcelona; Munich and New Delhi !!
                                             USE EARPLUGS when needed

Monday, September 21, 2015

Latest designs to reduce restaurant noise

Restaurant noise is of two types, the incidental and the intended. Incidental noise is that which arises from the mere juxtaposition of many people in a restricted area, the sounds of eating, of eating utensils, and of furniture. There are restaurants in Thailand with bare concrete walls and floors, metal topped tables, tables in close proximity, and alcaholised customers. The result is a noise box. The effects of such noise can be hugely reduced by design. Here is how it can be done:
The story is repeated in the Bangkok Post of 21st September, but the url is not available.

The second kind of noise is intended by the owners of the restaurant, piped music, in the belief that an atmosphere of jollity and relaxation requires noise. A television at high volume may also be provided to give visual relief to those who depend on such a stimulus. One restaurant which I have fled from includes a live vocalist although I cannot imagine why performers are willing to compete with the piped music and the TV, Perhaps, they follow the example of the orator Demosthenes, who spoke in competition to the sound of waves to develop his voice volume.
There are two solutions to this second kind of noise, stay away from it. Or carry out a counter offensive by printing neat cards like the following which promotes no added noise restaurants:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Screaming and Cheering a measure of entertainment

Passing by a kindergarten or elementary school one can observe that the children are no longer capable of talking to each other or to anyone else. Instead they make sounds more meaningless than a flock of crows or a pack of barking dogs, competing to make the loudest noise. But now this malaise has spread to university students as shown on a video of a welcome for new entrants by the students of Thammasat University; See
This is glorified idiocy. Perhaps one can excuse it on the ground that any rational and sensible exchange between students and new arrivals would be suspect. Thammasat students have a glorious history, perhaps their present day avatars are screaming in frustration at the anomaly of pursuing an education in an atmosphere of illiberal repression. A few days ago I visited a political prisoner; a student prisoner walked by but turned to greet us with a three finger salute. All hail, student, your salute was more eloquent than the screams of the mass of frenzied Thammasat neophytes.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Travels in e-Space

Trash Download
Noise Dragon

Yesterday I travelled by BTS from Mo Chit to Phaya Thai stations. Viewing my fellow travellers across the way, I noticed their diligence in travelling in another world, they were e-travellers, present in the carriage confines, but absent in a quiet e-world of their own. I became aware of the unusual quiet and quickly looked at the display screens, they were blank, and SILENT. The quiet of the e-world had conquered the noise dragon which haunts BTS, where passengers sit staring with empty expressions as the infernal  machines download commercial trash to their captured brains.
Is this a real respite, has the absorption of passengers in their personal e-travels beaten the trash delivery? The time was 6.0pm when the carriage was crowded with tiered workers. Has there been a change of policy by BTS, a change previous requested by Quiet Bangkok? Is it a temporary lapse by the noise dragon? Or has the loss of audience to their private world, turned to a loss the trash downloads? So be it!  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

BTS noise

Comment by a follower of this website:

"Funny to learn that BTS have a campaign to encourage travelers to stop using mobile phone in order not to disturb the others while they are themselves disturbing all passengers by blasting their TV!"

Monday, March 09, 2015

Museum of Endangered Sounds

In the unrelenting advance of modern civilisation we create new noises and sounds. The old sounds vanish without our being aware of the sonic treasures lost for ever. But not quite. One of us has established a "Museum for Endangered Sounds", where old sounds are conserved. Nothing more transient than sounds of the past, we might have thought. Browse for a few moments in forgotten experiences which are still stored in our memories, the sound of a clock mechanism, a mechanical typewriter, the clicking and whirring of devices that passed into oblivion, pests of the past, but nevertheless relics which we can again bring to life. Curious echoes of other times.
A salute to Brendan Chilcutt, creator of the website;  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pollution, Noise Forces Temple Sale

Chon Buri: An abbot is offering to sell his temple and land in Muang district for two billion baht, announcing he has had enough after over a decade of pollution from the nearby Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate, which had driven away all the monks.
A large 'for sale" banner has been put up in front of Wat Mab Sam Kliew in tambon Hua Raw in Muang district.
It says: "Urgent sals as Amata has caused environmental problems to the temple for over 10 years".
The abbot, Phra Khru Vibul Suphakorn, said trucks made so much oise the monks could not sleep or meditate.
After the sign went up, Hua Raw municipality and representatives of Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate went to meet the abbot.
A spokesman from the estate, Apicchart Sektheera, said the company would monitor noise levels.
Bangkok Post 13 November 2014

So that is alright then! Meanwhile there is an alternative to sleep and meditation in a facility made available by AMATA:
No further information is available on the fate of Wat Mab Sam Kliew. Quiet Bangkok is investigating.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Noise of Sport, the sport of noise

It appears that the thunderous noise of Formula One (F1) racing cars is even more important than their speed or the skill of the drivers.
Formula One fans want to hear just one thing: noise and lots of it.
At the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne earlier this month, the first race of the 2014 season, the fans weren’t happy. And neither were F1 bosses.
This year, the cars are fitted with quieter V6 turbo-powered engines, replacing the V8s that roared around the world’s tracks last season. The result of the shift is that you can barely hear a pin drop, relatively speaking.
Many fans are angry that one of the most important aspects of their sport – its wall of sound – has been tempered. Formula 1 cars have to look fantastic, but it would appear they must also emit a noise to match.
Bernie Ecclestone, the head of the sport, said he was ‘horrified’ by the noise reduction, while his close friend Ron Walker, the chief of the Australian Grand Prix, warned that promoters like him could abandon the sport over the issue.
Walker complained that fans in the grandstand at Melbourne could barely hear the cars coming down the straight. ‘When you take the excitement away, you have trouble selling tickets,’ he said.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bang Saeng Hell

Yes, this is what it looks like, umbrellas and crowds right down to the water's edge. But what it does not show is the NOISE. Wishing to flee the madness of Bangkok, a Sunday in Bang Saeng seemed the option. Oh no! Wang Mok is as great a restaurant as ever. But the well know "Hell" of Bang Saeng, showing the suffering of the damned is small change compared to the noise on the sea front.
There are now LOUD announcements of the imminent departure of minibus number xxxxx for Bangkok, repeated every three, perhaps I exaggerate, ever four minutes. Between the announcements your beer loud drinking  neighbours carry on a manic laughing commentary on life, the universe, and everything to the accompaniment of squeaky radio musik. Besides, the setting sun reflects infra red rays into your eyes from the sea surface!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

..the Neighbours complaining

"A new Bluetooth speaker shows that size isn't everything

They say good things come in tiny packages and that certainly holds true for the Xxxxxxxxxx, a portable Bluetooth speaker small enough to fit in the girlfriend's handbag but boasting so much volume that it will have the neighbours complaining."

A news item suggesting that noise enhances sale potential 
Throw the wretched things in the canal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Noise Invades Blog of Quiet

 This morning a noise measurement was recorded in a Bangkok suburb.
Noise level of morning family conversation: 57 decibels
Noise level when Bangkok protests were discussed: 73 decibels


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Singing Doves Join Government Opposition

              The ubiquitous singing doves of Bangkok have learned to make the sound of a protest whistle!
              Monitored on morning of 30th November

Whistle Sound Damages Hearing

 Blowing the Whistle
A single whistle blow ranges between 104 to 116 decibels, far exceeding safe noise levels.

Referees are exposed to almost 36 times maximum daily dose of noise in one game

 And whistle blowing protesters ?

Whistles and Earplugs

Bangkok is invaded by an intrusive, antidemocratic, harmful, obnoxious, invasive, noise pestilence. While the expression of opinion should be sacrosanct, this cacophonous attack on our quiet is not a legitimate tactic. It is an insult to intelligence, a denial of dialogue, an attack on civilised value, and a danger to our valuable sense of hearing. Express opinion, yes. Hold up banners and declarations, yes. But spare us this plague of noise of which we already have a surfeit.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

People pay to have their Quiet annihilated!

A red alert for the latest attack on Quiet:
Hype for headphones reads:
Featuring a 50mm driver, a built-in headphone amplifier and rechargeable battery (lasting up to 12 hours) it offers an explosive bone-jarring, brutally-powerful bass experience.
I would run a mile to escape from one!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bangkok Post today - 29/9/2013

Turn down the volume before it's too late

Fed up with the noise pollution making life a misery in his Pattaya home and despairing of finding tranquility elsewhere in Thailand, a stressed-out writer recently jetted off to Myanmar in search of peace and quiet.
He made it to the secluded Chaungtha Beach near Yangon and settled in just ahead of the weekend exodus from the former capital.
Along came a convoy of SUVs and tour buses. The new arrivals erected giant speakers and a powerful sound system nearby, cranked up a noisy generator and a beachside karaoke session was under way.
He returned to Thailand convinced that whatever else Myanmar might be, it is not the promised land as far as stress relief is concerned.
The same could be said of China, Cambodia, India or a score of other countries, because no matter how enticing the marketing hype, rarely is the proverbial grass greener on the other side of the hill, especially if that hill is in Asia. For this is a continent where cities thrive on noise, and nowhere is this more evident than in Bangkok.
Despite its high decibel level, the capital is consistently voted one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. Although that puts the battle waged against the pervasive culture of noise in a more positive light, it is questionable whether the judges actually live here.
If so, they cannot have failed to notice that the racket that envelops every shopping mall, children's playground, hospital waiting area, street, bus or train station often reaches dangerous levels.
Some people are just not happy unless they are flooded with competing sources of noise.
This even extends to public parks, where blaring loudspeakers disrupt attempts to seek solitude and refuge.
The loss of serenity and tranquility is not limited to Bangkok. Once-peaceful provinces have had their calm shattered by deafening speaker arrays perched on temples and through loudspeakers on poles which blast rural folk with news, irrelevant announcements and music from dawn to dusk.
Even a boat trip down a countryside khlong can mean a headache brought on by the din of unmuffled engines.
But it may not always be this way. In the wake of a 2004 birthday speech by His Majesty the King, in which he lamented the fact that some people were having their ability to listen ruined by loud music, several groups sprang up determined to turn down Bangkok's volume and city officials busied themselves raiding noisy nightclubs.
That was followed by a revolt from skytrain commuters. Already irritated at being bombarded by screeching audio-visual advertisements from TV monitors on previously peaceful BTS station platforms, they were incensed when these were extended to inside the trains as well.
They saw themselves as a captive audience persecuted by noise pollution of the most intrusive kind.
The enthusiastic response from the travelling public to a petition-signing campaign suggested that many other commuters also felt they had paid their fare to use the BTS, not to be persecuted by noisy ads.
In the end the sheer convenience of the skytrain won out, the protest fizzled and the noisy video displays remained. While Japan might have banned the use of mobile phones and other noisy distractions on its trains because the cacophony annoyed commuters, the clear message being sent was that this would not happen here.
But the failed attempt to pacify the skytrain did turn out to be a catalyst for other anti-noise campaigns. Loud videos mixed with ads and shown to captive passengers on tour buses were targeted, as well as ads that were blasted at passengers on newer city buses, vendors advertising their goods on sale at high volume and department stores that had installed special video displays that detonated a burst of sound and vision whenever a potential customer walked past.
With the average noise level in Bangkok measured at 84dB, against the accepted safe level of 70dB, it is little wonder that a survey by the World Health Organisation several years ago found that more than 20% of the capital's population who lived alongside roads suffered from ''sensory neural hearing loss''.
Loud noise is recognised both as a form of psychological torture and a major symptom of a consumer society obsessed by materialism.
Municipal ordinances controlling noise pollution exist in Bangkok and throughout the world. The difference lies in enforcement. It is time we put the health of our nation before the interests of those inconsiderate and selfish people who exhaust our patience and exploit our tolerance.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dream Website for Lovers of Quiet

Dream website of quiet and beauty

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

In Another City......

Noise Restrictions Imposed for Parks
 Dublin dwellers will be able the enjoy the sound of silence, or as near to it as possible, in some of the capital's parks. Seven parks and one beach will become "quiet areas" where noise levels must be kept below 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night. The noise regulations will restrict construction activity as well as road, rail and air traffic in the vicinity of the parks.
Parks which will be quiet areas must already be relatively quiet; some of the city's best known parks cannot qualify as the current noise level during the daytime exceeds 70 decibels (a lower level than in all of Bangkok's public parks!)
Existing laws already prohibit "nuisance noise" such as playing of musical instruments, radios or stereos at a pitch that would "give reasonable cause for annoyance". The quiet area policy is designed to combat "environmental noise", and aims primarily to minimise noise from outside the parks.
New laws to implement silence in the parks will be enforced by on-the-spot fines.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Last Refuge from Noise Invaded


Noisemaker allows you to take your favourite music underwater
The ultimate personal music player for those with an active lifestyle, will soon have you doing the breaststroke to The Beatles.

An MP3 player designed to be wearable without the need of a headphone cord, the Swimman is completely waterproof, meaning you can stick the phones in your ear and submerge yourself in the water all while listening to your favourite songs. Noisemaker says the MP3 player can be used under water to a depth of 2 metres but should never be used in seawater and mustn't come into direct contact with sand.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Humans Destroy the Orchestra of Nature

“The great orchestra of nature is, little by little, being silenced”
“LE MONDE | Mis à jour le 01.04.2013 à 13h10 Propos recueillis par Marie-Béatrice Baudet”
Musician from an early age, American Bernie Krause, 74, remains one of the emblematic figures of electronic music. He coined the term biophonie, the sounds made by living organisms. It is an orchestra of nature which he has studied and loved throughout a lifetime. In a recent interview he expressed his regret that the orchestra of nature is falling silent.
Starting in the 1960s he recorded the sounds in nature of more than 15,000 species of animals over 4500 hours. “Nature lives in acoustic harmony. Temperate or tropical forests each generate their own acoustic signature, which is an organized expression of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. Each creature occupies a slot in the sound spectrum, blending with the background sounds of nature, wind in trees, the sounds of flowing water, or rain. Whatever the purpose of a signal - mating, hunting, home defense, game - to fulfill its function, it must be audible and without interference. It is this natural voice and collective harmony to which I am referring when I talk about the animal orchestra”.
The contemporary world of human sound has disrupted the orchestra of nature. Mining, logging, urban sprawl, and the resulting pollution, reduce the area of ​​wildlife habitat. Similarly, by embedding the natural sounds under our cacophony, we disrupt or destroy nature itself. When birds can no longer hear the song s of other birds, they cease to sing.
Some animals, such as insects, are more affected than others. In tropical forests, predators try to adapt because it is more difficult to hear their prey. Human noise can also weaken the immune system of mammals and fish, reducing their resistance to disease, natural physiological result of high levels of stress hormone. In the most serious cases, when tolerances are exceeded, it can be fatal.
“The sad truth is that almost 50% of the habitats listed in my archives collected during these forty-five years are now so severely degraded that many of these natural sounds, once so rich, can no longer be heard today even approximately, in their original form.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Comment on "Guardian"

"I used to love music. Then I discovered silence."

Monday, September 03, 2012

Light relief from noise

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.
I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.
He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. He then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall
and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 'He lives in a home with non stopping chatting wife, 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.

Can I come with him tomorrow?

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Books on Silence

"Manifesto for Silence"
Edinburgh University Press, 2007
Hardback edition $32

"In Pursuit of Silence"
Anchor Books, New York, 2010
Paperback edition, 2011, $15.95

The two books shown are a welcome addition to the available literature on silence and noise. The titles and subtitles give a hint of the priorities of the two authors, the priority is silence and its value, the backgrounds are the World of Noise, the Politics and Culture of Noise.
They overlap in their abhorrence of noise, the ubiquity of meaningless sound and its exploitation by commerce. While both admire the value placed on Quiet in religious traditions, especially by Quakers and Christian monks, their treatments of noise and silence diverge. Both explore the world of noise. For Sim this is an intellectual quest, pursued in religion, philosophy, aesthetics, the arts, literature, language and speech. His treatment is highly academic, whether in the writings of the philosophers, Kant, Wittgenstein, Derrida, and Lyotard, or in esoteric examples of "silent" practice. An example of the former are his quote of John Cage's Lecture on Nothing:
I am here, and there is nothing to say. If among you are those who wish to get somewhere, let them leave at any moment. What we require is silence; but what silence requires is that I go on talking....." .
As examples of constructed silence he refers several times to the musical composition of Cage's work for piano, 4' 33"
for which there are no notes on the page for the soloist to play. He associates with silence too, the paintings of Mondrian, or monochrome paintings such as Kasimir Malevich's White Square on a White Ground. In literature he admires the silences of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.
For those who value quiet voyages of the mind, this is the book.

But to enter the push and pull world of quiet and noise, Prochnik is the better guide. While he too explores the Quaker world and the cell of the monk in search of silence, he tours the battlefields of noise, the shopping malls, and even "Explosive Sound and Video", 'principality of Tommy, the King of Bass'. He experiences the jungle of boom cars, inhabited by people named MP3 Pimp, Big Red accompanied by Big Red's Lady, where the sound systems of cars shatter windscreens and shop windows. In the confined space of a car crammed with amplifiers, the sound level can reach peaks of 161 decibels. There is mention of a peak of 181-plus in dB Drag, an experience of Bass Racing. ".. at 163 and higher the air has ceased to be air. Competitors today were already hitting in the low 18Os. But once you hit 194 decibels, sound ceases to be sound...creating a shock wave. This is the realm of sonic booms and earthquakes"
In Pursuit of Silence is written in anecdotal style like most US thematic best sellers. Nevertheless it makes easy reading. It is full of practical suggestions, and can serve as a battle manual in the war against noise, although the author insists that a search for Silence is the wiser strategy.

The books are complementary; each has value. Both writers have a passionate distaste for noise in the modern world, and a love of silence which in one case borders on the mystical, while for the other it is a humane value to be fought for and won.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Update on the 20th century

Aldous Huxley, one of the great thinkers of the 20th century wrote on the problem of noise. He experienced the assault of radio on our minds. In rereading his words we can update the assault of noise to include all the debased technologies which carry on the task today. I say 'debased' rather than 'advanced', 'developed', or even 'new' with its connotation of hope'

On Silence
The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire -- we hold history's record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ear, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego's core of wish and desire. Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose -- to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its Divine Ground. — from Silence, Liberty, and Peace (1946)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Restaurant Noise

Today, hrdefender had lunch in the restaurant on the ground floor of Building A in the Chaeng Wattana Government complex. The food was excellent at a most reasonable price. Problem was the noise. The ambient noise at lunchtime measured 75 db, already far exceeding the 55 db recommended for restaurant noise. 55 db is the level where relaxed conversation is possible and thus too much to ask of a huge cafeteria. But the problem of the Building A ground floor restaurant was the awful scraping of chairs on a tiled floor. Everyone using the restaurant dragged out their chair, sat down, and dragged it in again, completely oblivious of the noise grenade launched in the whole resonating area. The noise meter surged to 82 or more decibels with every such noise event. This is a fourfold increase of noise power. Every chair gave out a different raucous tone, leading to a cacophony of squeaks and shrill wails which would enervate an angel. It seemed to have no effect on the lunching masses, but must contribute to the noxious role of persistent noise on all of us.  We can become oblivious to a constant noise source, a fan or air conditioner. We can even come to ignore a recurrent sound, a bell or passing train. But random noise escapes all deadening of perception.
The solutions are easy. Lift one's chair rather than dragging it. Or, put a cheap rubber cap on each leg of the chair. Neither will happen unless we train children to be attentive to simple noise limiting habits, or invest in the cheap technology of noise limitation. Unless we complain loudly and noisily Else, we go insane in an ever noise indifferent culture.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Those Wretched Decibels

A new European Index of noise
  A project aims to create Harmonica, by 2014, a new index of noise, simple to understand by the population. Traditional indicators combine data that reflect the intensity of noise in decibels and other aspects that measure events, such as horns, in addition to background noise. Currently, the noise maps indicate the noise levels generated by the transport infrastructure or industrial sites regardless of fluctuating noises. The variety of different noise sources is not always evaluated. The new index will include all the parameters by offering a simple scale ranging from 1 to 10. This will lead to the creation of an Internet portal for disseminating the results of the noise levels of different cities in Europe.

Road Noise Can Be Reduced

The Paris – Lyon motorway is the noisiest of the French capital, inhabited by more than 100 000 inhabitants over a distance of 35 km Measurements revealed that noise levels routinely exceed the permissible exposure limits, day and night. 61,000 people suffer the noise without respite.

Between 25 and 29 June, the pavement of the expressway has been replaced by a new acoustic cover. The process is expected to make a reduction of about 7 to 8 decibels (dB), the equivalent of a traffic reduction by a factor of 8.
Before starting work, indicators reported noise values
​​between 76 and 83 dB (A). This is significant because experts estimate that thre is a health hazard from 85 dB (A).

But a change of coating will not be enough. To truly reduce the noise, experts recommend reducing traffic speed, especially at night.

Another action, called "down a tone," is conducted on the terraces in Paris, which since the smoking ban in public places, have become the venue of revelers, causing conflict and exasperation of local residents. Five monitoring stations were installed on  terraces in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, to assess the volume.
Starting in September, warning systems will be tested. When a threshold, defined in consultation with local residents and the municipality, has been reached, owners will receive an SMS alert. Signs posted on the terraces will indicate the noise level in real time. A red light will indicate an excess of voice ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Great Restaurant which Turns Down Volume

A great, small, restaurant which turn downs the volume of the music on request.
   Phuket Town, 160/8 next to Thonglor 6
Soi 55, Sukhumwit

Whales too find noise disturbing

We all know that restaurant music is a noxious noise. But whales too suffer from noise:
Shipping noise causes chronic stress to whales, scientists have shown for the first time, after using the halt in marine traffic after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to conduct a unique experiment.
The effect on whales of propeller noise, military sonar and explosions set off in the search for oil and gas is highly controversial. Environmental campaigners claim the noise interferes with the singing of whales, or even kills the animals, and are currently suing the US government over the navy's use of sonar.
The research, published on Wednesday, provides the first evidence of physical harm, according to Rosalind Rolland, a researcher at the New England Aquarium, in Boston, US.
"We showed whales occupying oceans with high levels of ship noise have a chronic stress response," said Rolland, who led the study. "We knew whales changed the frequency of their calls to adapt to the ship noise, but this work shows it is not merely an annoyance – it is having a physical effect."
Guardian, Feb. 8th

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Noise Pollution in World's Oceans

Not content with noise polluting on land, we are polluting the world's oceans. Whales and dolphins can no longer communicate or navigate over distance, due to increasing noise pollution in the seas. Sources of the noise are increasing commercial shipping, new types of military sonar, and oil prospecting of the seabed. At the same time chemical pollution of the seas makes their water more acidic allowing noise to proliferate further.

And when, in the not too distant future, Bangkok sinks beneath rising sea levels ...., will we have perfected waterproof boom boxes so that we will go down like the Titanic with the band playing?

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book of Silence

Quiet Bangkok cannot wait to get hands on this newly published book.

"Vocal feminist and mother Maitland has always craved silence, and over the past five years has spent time in the Sinai desert, the Australian bush and the Isle of Skye. As well also looks at the history and concept of silence.

If you read it before I do please post a comment!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bangkok first, then Paris

400 Large LCD Screens Installed in Paris Metro

Three years after Bangkok, Paris has installed large (two metre square) screens in the one hundred stations of its Metro rapid transport system, spewing advertisements and the like. And to think that Quiet Bangkok had admired French intitiatives in urban noise control. However, the citizens of Paris are made of sterner stuff than making polite complaint. Comments on the news have already resulted in a call to arms. Quiet Bangkok has also rushed to the rescue:
Nous avons ces types d'ecrans deja a Bangkok, ils deviennent plus grands et on les trouve partout. En lieu de voir le 'cityscape' on voit le publicite banal. On croyait que les Parisiens aiment mieux le silence et trouvent le bruit insupportable.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

13th International Noise Awareness Day

"You may not wish to speak;
just sit without words
day and night by my heart's side" Tagore

April 16th is the 13th International Noise Awareness Day
Participate by the simple act of 60 seconds of “No Noise” from 2.15 to 2.16 pm regardless of location. This one minute period will highlight the impact noise has on our hearing and health.

Recipe for A Quiet Diet
Take these few, simple steps to preserve the peace and quiet in your life:
Pay attention to the noises you make and respect your neighbor's right to peace and quiet.
Turn down the volume two notches on your radios and personal stereo systems with headphones.
Turn down the volume one notch on your television.
Do NOT honk your horn, except in the case of imminent danger.
Do NOT tip taxi drivers who honk their horns illegally.
Avoid noisy sports events, restaurants, rock concerts and nightclubs unless you use hearing protection.
Replace noisy activities with quiet ones such as taking a walk, visits to libraries and museums.
Ask your health club instructor to lower the music.
Ask the film theater manager to turn down the volume.
Wear adequate hearing protection if you must be in a noisy environment (the subway, mowing the lawn)
Turn off the television during dinner and have a quiet conversation instead.
Get a hearing screening.
Organize a meeting to review (or develop) a local, enforceable noise ordinance.
Join Quiet Bangkok Group
Spread the word about the danger of noise,
and remember... OBSERVE ONE MINUTE OF NO NOISE FROM 2:15-2:16 P.M (regardless of location)


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mosquito - Beethoven

A new device referred to as 'mosquito' or 'beethoven', to exclude adolescents from areas where it is used, has appeared. Consisting of a small box with a loudspeaker it emits sounds which oscillate between 17 kHz and 18 kHz, a range which can be heard only by children and adolescents. The emission is at 95 dBs and causes a disagreeable sensation to young people, and can give severe headache. It cannot be heard by older people and, strangely, does not appear to affect dogs. It is used outside shops or in areas where young people congregate and sometimes intimidate passersby. The effect of the device is to create child free zones. It is widely used in the UK. In other European countries parents protest use of the device. Belgium has refused to suspend sales of the device. It sells for about 500 Euro.
The device effectively criminalises all young people, the innocent as well as those who might cause offense to others. It also affects babies and young children who are not involved in objectionable behaviour.
It is difficult to understand that use of such a device is acceptable.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Concept of Parks

Famous Parks

Central Park New York City
“Central Park. A place of beauty and serenity. An escape from the noise of the city and the stresses of an urban life.”

Hyde Park London
“Hyde Park provides a welcome retreat from the noise and hurly-burly that defines much of London life.”

Bangkok Parks

Parks and Noise

Noise Machine in Bangkok Park
The following is a cri de coeur from a Thai artist against noise in parks, or anywhere else!
ปานชลี สถิรศาสตร์
เมื่อไม่นานมานี้ ผู้เขียนพาเพื่อนต่างชาติไปเที่ยวสวนหลวง ตั้งใจจะไปเดินดูสวนพฤกษชาติกันให้เพลิน ปรากฏว่าเสียงเพลงดังมากจนเดินไม่เป็นสุข ต้องวิ่งหากระดาษอุดหู ทนเดินสำรวจสวนที่มีเพลงลั่นด้วยความขุ่นใจ มีลำโพงอสุรกายตัวเขียวๆ ตั้งอยู่ที่พื้นเต็มสวน ไม่มีมุมไหนหลบเสียงได้
เพื่อนฝรั่งเคืองมาก ถามว่าทำไมสวนบ้านเราถึงดังเหมือนอยู่ในร้านเหล้า ผู้เขียนตอบว่า ผู้ว่าฯกทม. สุดรักของชาวกรุงคนนี้ คงจะไม่เคยไปเดินในสวนสาธารณะของใครอื่น ถึงไม่รู้ว่าสวนสาธารณะควรจะเงียบสงบ และท่านก็คงไม่มีเวลามาเดินดูสวนเอง ก็เลยไม่รู้ว่าลูกน้องของท่าน เปิดเพลงชวนปวดประสาท ฟังแล้วเจ็บหัวใจเหมือนถูกผึ้งต่อยได้ปานนี้
สมัยเป็นนักเรียน ผู้เขียนมักจะนัดเพื่อนๆ มาอ่านหนังสือในสวน สวนที่สงบเงียบ ทำให้มีสมาธิในการจดจำอย่างเอกอุ ทั้งเป็นขาประจำของการเดินออกกำลังในสวน หอบหนังสือไปอ่านเอางานไปนั่งทำเงียบๆ เสมอ แต่หลังจากมีความคิดวิปลาสเอาลำโพงไปตั้งในสวนกระจายเสียง จนอ่านหนังสือไม่รู้เรื่อง ทำให้ไม่อยากไปอีก
ทุกครั้งที่เดินทางไปต่างแดน ผู้เขียนจะต้องหาโอกาสไปเดินชมสวนก่อน สวนในยุโรปมักร่มรื่น สงบเงียบสุดแสน เหมือนเดินในวิมานแมน การทำสวนให้เงียบเป็นที่หย่อนใจสำหรับประชาชน เป็นสิ่งที่ผู้ว่าการของเมืองต่างๆ มีหน้าที่ต้องส่งเสริมเป็นลำดับต้นๆ เพิ่งไปเยือนสวนชาวอินโดฯ และสวนชาวอินเดียมา หลายแห่งเหมือนเดินในป่า สวนญี่ปุ่นให้เคารพต่อความยิ่งใหญ่ของธรรมชาติ การจัดสวนมีสุนทรียภาพเลิศล้ำ ให้ความชุ่มชื่นทั้งตาทั้งใจ วัดหลายแห่งมีสวนขนาดใหญ่ที่เงียบสงบอัศจรรย์ เวลาไปเดินแล้วรู้สึกจับใจจริงๆ แทบไม่อยากกลับ
หันมาดูสวนสาธารณะของเรา กระจายเสียงตั้งแต่เปิดสวน ติดลำโพงถี่ยิบ ส่งเสียงติดตามผู้ชมสวนไปทุกแห่งหน เป็นสิ่งที่สร้างความรำคาญและรกหูจนเหลือรับ ราวกับคนกรุงนั้นไม่เคยมีวิทยุที่บ้าน เปิดเพลงชาติดังจนปวดแก้วหู แถมเปิดเพลงรายการที่ดีเจพูดจาเจื้อยแจ้วเหมือนนกแก้ว เหมือนมีคนเดินตามตะโกนใส่หูทุกย่างก้าว
การยัดเยียดให้ฟังเพลง และข่าวสารบ้านเมืองเวลาออกกำลัง หรือเดินพักผ่อน ดูเหมือนจะกลายเป็นสิ่งที่ยึดถือกัน จนเป็นธรรมเนียมไปแล้วทุกมุมเมือง ทั้งในสวนและศูนย์สุขภาพ การฟังเพลงตลอดเวลานี้ นับเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ได้อยู่ในทางมัชฌิมาปทา เป็นสิ่งที่ควรจะต้องคัดค้านกันให้แข็งขัน สวนสาธารณะนั้น ควรจะเป็นสถานที่ส่งเสริมให้สงบเงียบที่สุด เพื่อฝึกฝังให้เกิดความรักความงามสงบของธรรมชาติแก่เยาวชนด้วย
คนเราควรจะได้พักหูอยู่เงียบๆ กันให้มาก แม้ว่าเสียงไม่ดังนัก แต่ได้ยินนานๆ ก็ก่อความเครียด ทำให้ร่างกายหลั่งสารพิษเป็นอันตรายต่อสุขภาพอย่างร้าย ประสาทตึงเครียด ความดันโลหิตสูง โรคหัวใจถามหา ภูมิคุ้มกันบกพร่อง ขาดสมาธิที่จะคิดอ่านอะไรให้สร้างสรรค์ การออกกำลังโดยใช้เสียงเพลงที่มีลำโพงดังตูมตามในสวน ก็ผิดสุขอนามัย เสียงกระหึ่มเช่นนั้น ไม่เพียงแต่ทำให้หูพัง ยังทำร้ายปอดและหัวใจด้วย หญิงมีครรภ์ฟังเสียงดังนานๆ ก็ทำให้ทารกพิการได้ มีการวิจัยมาแล้ว คนที่ต้องฟังเพลงอยู่ตลอดเวลา ราวกับว่า โลกนี้จะขาดเพลงไม่ได้ แปลว่าขี้เหงา จิตใจขาดความมั่นคง บ้านเมืองเราเต็มไปด้วยคนแบบนี้มากๆ ต้องนับว่าเป็นกลียุค
การพักผ่อนสมองที่ดีที่สุดคือ การได้พักสายตา ดูต้นไม้เขียวๆ ฟังเสียงธรรมชาติที่ไม่ระคายหู การเดินในสวนที่เงียบสงบ จึงจะซึมซับความงามของต้นไม้ได้เต็มที่ ในทางธรรมความเงียบเป็นสิ่งที่พระพุทธองค์ทรงสรรเสริญอย่างยิ่ง นักปราชญ์ราชบัณฑิตทุกชาติล้วนให้คุณค่าความเงียบ เราจึงควรชักชวนเยาวชน ให้มารู้จักความมหัศจรรย์ของความสงบเงียบกันเข้าไว้
เห็นสวนสาธารณะของบ้านเมืองคนอื่นแล้ว ทั้งน่าชื่นชมและชื่นใจ แต่สวนของเราช่างเป็นสวนที่ครึกโครมเหมือนตลาดนัด ลำโพงในสวน โปรดเอาออกเสียเถิดท่านผู้ว่าฯ มีแต่ทำให้ขึ้งเคียด รำคาญ เพิ่มปริมาณคนหูตึงเข้าไปกันใหญ่ ทุกวันนี้หาที่พักผ่อนเงียบๆ ก็ไม่มี ไม่รู้จะหลบไปอยู่มุมไหน จะทำให้คนเป็นบ้ากันมากขึ้น
ได้ยินว่ามีคนร้องทุกข์เรื่องเสียงดังกันมาก แต่ผู้ว่าฯ กทม. ไม่ยักได้ยิน ถ้าผู้อ่านคนใดทำงานอยู่ที่เดียวกับท่าน ฝากบอกให้ท่านไปตรวจหูเสียงบ้าง สงสัยว่าท่านเองก็หูตึงเหมือนกัน
Protests have now become an avalanche. This abuse must stop

Monday, December 03, 2007

Safari World, Noise Show

Safari World - Another noise factory in Bangkok.

Dolphin Show, 80% young children in audience.
Loud speakers and amplifier at level of pain.
I stuffed my ears with tissue paper, not sufficient, industrial ear muffs required.
Left show, unable to bear.
Dolphins are said to have acute hearing, OMG!

And many of the animals in Safari Park appear sick!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Construction Site Noise

End in sight for residents in battle against building noise. Lee Klein does not need an alarm clock. He has been waking at 6am every day for the past several months.

For people in Bangkok's Pathum Wan district, the sound of construction work is their signal a new day is beginning.

"Cranes start up at 6am and you wake me up with hammers at 6am every weekend," expatriate Klein told contractors at a meeting of irate, sleep-deprived residents.

Klein lives in an apartment in the Grand Regent in Soi Mahadlekluang 2. The block is sandwiched by two construction sites.

The nightmare may soon be over following reconciliation between the community and contractors. It is a win-win deal for the community, the contractors and Pathum Wan district.

"This is the first time a Bangkok community has successfully negotiated with contractors," said Pathum Wan district director Surakiat Limcharoen.

There have been thousands of complaints about construction noise in Bangkok, but there has never been a collective complaint like that of the sleepless of Pathum Wan.

Led by resident Oraya Sutabutr, the community last month demanded contractors be more considerate about noise and shorten working hours on weekends. It also wanted dust control and care of public spaces.

Six more condominiums and hotels are being erected in Sois Mahadlekluang 1 to 3, adding to the half dozen already there. There is another construction site on nearby Lang Suan. This work causes noise and air pollution.

The contractors are Rittha, K-Tech, Jiangsu, Obayashi, Bouygues-Thai and Siphya Construction.

When building started some months ago, residents were angered by working hours that often started as early as 6am or even went around the clock.

They filed complaints with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and some of the problems were solved for a short period.

But Surakiat believed there would be no total solution unless the parties listened to each other's needs.

He arranged the recent meeting where the community asked contractors to start working in accordance with the law - which stipulates 8am to 10pm weekdays and 11am to 10pm on weekends as acceptable hours. Workers are required to take care when in public areas.

The community can punish contractors who ignore agreements struck at the meeting. Penalties include temporary closure for one day. For subsequent offences Bt100,000-a-day fines will be imposed and money used by the district for community improvement, such as footpaths for the disabled along Rajdamri Road and improvements to car parking at Wat Pathumwanaram.

"I'm just a middleman chairing the meeting. Everyone gets to say what they want," Surakiat says. "Nobody loses. And we get donations to improve our community, too."

Sirinya Wattanasukchai

The Nation