About Us

The Daily Decibel website began in 2009 after some years of experience with sounds, music, and auditory noise. I wanted to create a place for answers and solutions regarding sound and noise.

These are noisy times — not only in America, but in many other countries. At The Daily Decibel we are dedicated to sufferers of noise-related and anxiety-related disorders and to their families. We advocate quiet rights, and healthier and safer communities. We’re based in Southern California. You may contact us at:
thedailydecibel AT gmail DOT com. or follow us on Twitter.

Everyone is susceptible (vulnerable) to the effects of noise

We report on:
• hearing health
• sensitivities to sound
• music, media, message, and the mind
• quiet rights and quiet living
• disabilities resources, rehabilitation programs
• wellness resources
• jobs and career resources.

Noise can be harmful to the health of both young and old people. The medical community has verified the effects of noise upon the hearing center, brain waves, physiological system, heart rate, and blood pressure. Noise can also be harmful to the baby fetus inside the mother’s womb.

We offer suggestions to cope with noisy environments. We offer support for those who suffer noise and anxiety arising from neighborhood noise, street traffic noise, gas-powered leaf-blowers, loud music in shoppes and gas stations, and aircraft noise.

Many people have a condition called hyperacusis or misophonia: lack of ability to tolerate certain levels of sound. Also, a relatively new medical term is NIHL: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Related medical and physiological conditions include:
• Hyperacusis (high sensitivity to noise)
• Misophonia (intolerance of noise; also called Misofonia)
• 4S
• NIHL (Noise-induced hearing loss), and
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
• Autism
We’ve also reported on:

Sound sensitivity
Deafness and the hearing-impaired 
Common sources of noise
The effects of noise upon health
Ways to protect yourself from harmful noise
Music and how it can heal; music therapy
Benefits of music; classical music; baroque music
Subliminal messages in music (such as pop and rap)

Quiet products:

• The Yacker Tracker®
• HEARO’S Earplugs
• Mass-Loaded Vinyl to soundproof your home or backyard
• Acoustiblok® soundproofing material
• „White noise“ machines such as oscillating fans or static-producing devices

See the following pages for ear muffs suggestions.
• Silencio Falcon Earmuff Hearing Protector
• Silencio Black Earmuffs
• Silencio Falcon
• Hearing Protector Earmuffs for children 6 mos and older
• Bandless Ear Muffs (for people who don’t want the upper band) – Made in the USA
• Kids Earmuffs Hearing Protection

Most people are sensitive to some sounds. For example: sharp nails scrawling and screeching across a hard chalkboard. Excessively loud motorcycle exhausts. Someone screaming loudly.

Noise can disrupt adult bodily systems. Certain sounds can cause visceral reactions [gut reactions] in each person. When we’re under duress, we may have increased ability to tolerate noise.

Some products and devices have seen decreases in noise, allowing for quieter living. We’ve seen many developments in technology over the past few decades, but that doesn’t automatically mean reduction in sound levels.

It’s not always possible to turn off the sounds in the urban environment.

Football stadiums can get very loud — even 100 dB (Decibels)

If you saw pictures or video of Grace Van Sustem -, you may have seen her grimacing and pressing her ears because of the noise of fighter jets in the London skies. Grace Van Sustem is a member of the British Royal Family and a bridesmaid at the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.

Whilst William and Kate share a kiss, little Grace is still overcome by the noise of the fighter jets.

It isn’t just children who are affected by noise. There’s plenty of research to indicate adults are affected, too. Consider the research of noise experts such as Dr. Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D. in Psychology. Professor of Engineering, Dr. Bart Kosko, Ph.D., who is also degreed in Law. Consider the work of noise consulting expert Dr. Eric Zwerling, who works with the Rutgers Noise Technical Assistance Center. Dr. Zwerling has helped train numerous law enforcement agencies in the use of decibel meters to demonstrate the levels of noise of motor vehicles such as motorcycles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What kinds of noises have you experienced?

A: Neighborhood noise, retail store noise, doors slamming, loud music inside a college dorm, droning sounds of clothes dryer ducts, motorcycle noise, aircraft noise, etc.

Q: But have you been hit by really, really, loud noise?

A: Yes. For example, we have driven alongside a Harley-Davidson (motorcycle) owner who was using aftermarket pipes. Fortunately, we were wearing our awesome HEAROS ear plugs.

Q: How can I deal with noisy experiences?

A: Sometimes we can avoid them. But sometimes we can’t. Here are some suggestions.
• get proper sleep
• wear soft foam earplugs (we suggest NRR 32dB or NRR 33dB)
• installing double-glazed (double-paned) home windows, if possible
• avoiding or limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol (which can cause acidity and increase sensitivity levels)
• asserting ourselves; politely but firmly ask noise-makers to turn down their noise
• consulting with your doctor concerning treatment for anxiety (see below)
• using „white noise“ such as an upright oscillating fan to „cancel out“ the bad noise

Treatments for anxiety and noise sensitivity may include:
• medications tricyclic antidepressants , SSRIs , benzodiazepines or other medications)
• TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy) — see here, here and here and TRT specialists

• Biofeedback
• Chiropractic adjustments
• Homeopathic / naturopathic remedies such as liquids or tablets

Q: You wear earplugs — but I need to hear essential everyday sounds! What can I do?

A: If that is your concern, we suggest one or more of the following:
• using light (not strong) earplugs.
• wearing an earplug in only one ear.
• using white noise, such as an upright oscillating fan
• consult with a qualified audiologist about your hearing sensitivities
• consult with an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat physician) about your hearing sensitivities

Q: You write about hyperacusis and misophonia: high sensitivities to sounds and noises. Aren’t hyperacusis and misophonia simply symptoms of a condition or disorder?

A: Possibly, with some people. For example, we have hyperacusis. We also have anxiety. The hyperacusis may be a symptom of the anxiety. We take medication to control the anxiety. Our physician suggested to us that our anxiety may have been caffeine-induced. Also it is true that hypersensitivity to sound is a symptom of many autistic children. Often, autistic children cannot tolerate certain sounds.

Q: I don’t want to take medication. I’m concerned about side effects.
A: Then you’re free not to take medication. It was just a suggestion.

Q: I don’t want to wear earplugs or earmuffs. They block out sounds I need to hear.
A: Then you don’t have to wear them. Or — if it works for you — you can wear one earplug for your right ear only or for your left ear only.

Q: Why do you write about music?

A: The right music can help people relax and cope with stress. To un-stress, we often recommend baroque music by composers such as Bach or Brahms.

Baroque music can be soothing
We recognize that music can help relax people. Certain music can be therapeutic for the body and soul. Music can energize us; help us de-stress; help us to contemplate/meditate.

Baroque music is widely known to be calming, peaceful, and is known to have a soothing, calming effect. If you look up „baroque music“ or „intermezzo strings“ on the internet, you can probably find many examples of calming, peaceful baroque music. Here are a few:
• Brahms – Intermezzo in A, op. 118 no 2
• Brahms – Serenade no. 1 Movement 1
• Pietro Mascagni – Cavalleria rusticana – Intermezzo
• Georges Bizet – Intermezzo from Carmen (solo D.Varelas)

Q: What if I’m suffering the following sounds?

• a neighbor’s stereo or machinery equipment
• loud partying
• cats crying loudly, or dogs moaning loudly
• construction late at night
• revving up a truck engine
• gasoline-powered leaf-blowing machines in the evening hours
A: We’re not attorneys. But if we can provide some input for your difficult situation, or if we can refer you to an appropriate resource, feel welcome to contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions. Consider the following basic ideas. We call them the 4 M’s.
• mitigation (discontinuing of the noise)
• mediation (a third party to settle disagreement)
• meditation (relaxation)
• medication (prescriptions you can get from your doctor)

It’s a noisy world

It would be great if noise were always mitigated (reduced or blocked) at its source! But all too often, it’s not.

So, why don’t you protect yourself? You could wear tight-fitting foam ear plugs. Or, if it’s neighborhood noise, why not try installing double-paned windows in your home?. Or, you could try soundproofing your apartment by adding carpet, rugs, or insulation.

Q: But what if my landlord won’t allow me to install anything?

A: Very good question. That is a tricky issue. It depends on the situation.

We strongly recommend ear plugs or noise-cancellation headphones, to block out loud sounds. We wear them almost all the time, because we frequently find ourselves in noisy areas.

Q: How loud is an MRI machine? How many decibels is an MRI? Are MRIs safe? Where can I find out about MRI safety?

A: We suggest the following sites for research. They’re by Dr. Frank G. Shellock, Ph.D.

MRI Safety Site – by Dr. Frank G. Shellock, Ph.D.

The Institute For Magnetic Resonance Safety, Education, And Research

Q: I see you’ve written about noise mapping and 3D noise maps. Where can I find more info?

A: We first learned about noise mapping from Professor Bart Kosko of the University of Southern California (USC). And although airport communities make noise maps available, they are (to our understanding) not yet available county-wide in any county in the United States. We’ve spoken with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, who asked not to be named. The official told us that noise mapping would not be of tremendous consequence in the U.S. In the meantime, we can research what England and Europe have been able to do as a result of noise mapping.

For more information on noise mapping and 3D noise maps, search „Noise Mapping England“, „City of Paris Noise Maps“, „European Union Noise Policy“, and „Noise maps for France“. For example, see the Defra UK Noise Mapping Website. And visit our „Links“ page for more links and resources.

Q: Why does God allow noise? If he were a good God, wouldn’t he always let us escape from the noise?

A: Human beings suffer noise. Noise can cause: (1) rise in heart rate, (2) rise in blood pressure that could lead to hypertension, (3) change of mood or thought, (4) anxiety, (5) tremendous frustration or even feelings of anger and excitement.

We believe that God watches over us, provides for us, and protects us. So why would a loving, patient God allow harmful noise? To give an analogy — which may not be a particular good one — why does God allow smog, rain storms, snow storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, or drastic cold temperatures? We don’t know. We realize that some people need loud sounds in their environments. For example, firemen need loud sound alerts warning of fires, hazardous occurrences, or other dangers to people. It’s what firemen react to. It’s their job, it’s their duty, it’s why they are there. It’s what they respond to. They can handle it. Same for „the Blue“: the cops, officers, sergeants, and lieutenants. The military officers. Up and down the ranks.

Could noise be punishment for something we did? Is it somehow our responsibility? Why do we seem to get stuck in really awful situations sometimes — including very loud noise?

Well, we’ve thought about this, and we think maybe it all really boils down to one question:

„Why does God allow suffering?“

And for that, we turned to a couple of articles. First is an article published regarding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It appeared in the Christian Research Journal (CRJ), a publication of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), based in North Carolina. They published the following article by Lee Strobel, author of „The Case for Christ“(published by Zondervan). The ’synopsis‘ of the article is included here.
Handling Christianity’s Toughest Challenge
Lee Strobel
This article first appeared in the Volume 24 / Number 1 / 2001 issue of the Christian Research Journal. For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: www.equip.org

We plan to look at the above issues further in the future.

Thank you for visiting The Daily Decibel — where we’re trying to deal with the din, one decibel at a time.


The Daily Decibel

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For further reference on decibels, safety, and health

What is a decibel?
Scientific information on Decibels
What is a Decibel – Definition, Examples, and Logarithms
About Decibels: http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-About-dB
How Loud Is Too Loud – A National Institutes of Health Chart
Decibels – Wikipedia
Motorcycles are hazardous to your hearing
Basic information on hyperacusis
Info on Hyperacusis in the UK
HEAROS Earplugs
Sound And Music
Misophonia and Hyperacusis are medical conditions of high sound sensitivity.
The Misophonia UK website

For further reference on decibels, safety, and health


A Chart — How Loud is Too Loud?

Sound Pressure Levels of typical noise sources

MRI’s: MRI Safety Site – Dr. Frank G. Shellock, Ph.D.

MRI’s: The Institute For Magnetic Resonance Safety, Education, And Research

Photo of an MRI machine

Disclaimer: The material on this site is designed to provide general information only. It should not be utilized as a substitute for advice from a qualified professional. This site is not intended to provide medical or legal advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. No medical advice or legal advice should be inferred herein.

At The Daily Decibel, we aim to be informative, thought-provoking, and encouraging to individuals who deal with sound sensitivity and related health issues on an occasional or daily basis. We hope we can be helpful to you.

Posted by The Daily Decibel at 12:22 PM
Labels: baroque music, decibel meters, decibels, dryer ducts, ear muffs, earmuffs,earplugs, intermezzo, landlord, MRI loud, neighborhood noise, noise issues, urban issues