About Noise...

Do we love noise?

Certainly not!
You might say.
But I am afraid you would have to shout
To convey your doubt.

Perhaps its time to introspect
Listen to our world and dissect
The truth.

Our cars, scooters, trucks and buses request
To get out of the way - PLEASE
They suggest.

We mark our celebrations
With bombs and firecrackers
With no beginning and no end
What are we celebrating?
I contend.

Loudspeakers & Microphones
invade our neighborhoods, everyday.
To 'protect' us from the deafening
sound of silence.
They perhaps say.

Surely I jest
Some might suggest
To register your doubt and protest
Just as we require time to be able to refresh and renew our life energies, so too we require quiet periods for mental as well as spiritual, not to mention physical, re-composure. Today, hardly any silent zones remain - even our parks are invaded by the sounds of the surrounding traffic. While our most private domain - our bedroom - does not offer us sanctum either, deluged as it is with sonic sewage.

Normally, for any kind of accoustic communication like conversing or listening to music, to be effective, a good 'signal to noise' ratio is essential. So that the 'desired signal' (in the case of conversation - the other person talking), may be heard distinctly from any competing noise. This is what distinguishes a 'hi-fi' from a 'low-fi' environment. A 'hi-fi' (high fidelity) environment is one in which all sounds may be heard clearly with whatever detail and spatial orientation they may posess. In contrast, a 'low-fi' (low-fidelity) environment would be one where quiet sounds are masked by louder ones and therefore, nothing can be heard clearly, details and spatial orientation are obscured.
Besides the outdoor sources of noise there also exist the indoor sources of noise, such as air-conditioning systems which have perhaps been aptly termed as the - bad breath - of buildings. And yet noise treatments in our interior environs are attempted every day by the introduction of broad-band sounds known as 'white noise'. Other uses of such 'audio - analgesia' or 'acoustic perfume', in our lives today, may be frequently found in the form of music heard over telephones, rock music and/or symphonies in restaurants, hotels, elevators, shops and even offices. These sounds do not help in any way to alleviate the problem of noise, but only add to the already existing dump of sounds.

Another interesting 'deaf spot' still adhered to even today is that noise is considered synonymous with 'power' and therefore accepted as being progressive. Ideally of course, progress would mean less noise not more: noise in a machine, however discrete, is a sign of in-efficiency, an escape of energy.

The following table puts some environmental sounds into perspective

environmental sounds sound levels
Threashold of hearing 0 dB
Rustling of leaves 20 dB
Quiet whisper 30 dB
Quiet home 40 dB
Normal conversation 60 dB
Average car (15 ft away) 70 dB
Loud singing (3 ft away) 75 dB
Average truck (15 ft away) 80 db
Power mower 107 dB
Amplified rock-n-roll 120 dB
Jet plane (100 ft away) 130 dB
Threashold of pain 140 dB