15 Noise Stories (2)

This post is a part of a collection of news stories on noise in different places and about different types of noise (traffic noise, leisure noise, aircraft noise, etc.) Each post presents 15 stories (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) on noise in urban centers across the world.


Designers criam torre que transforma ruído urbano em energia – O “Soundscraper” aproveita a poluição sonora das metrópoles para gerar eletricidade. Uma única torre poderia suprir até 10% da iluminação urbana de uma cidade como Los Angeles

Creating Energy from Noise Pollution – An honourable mention-winning entry in the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, dubbed Soundscraper, looked into ways to convert the ambient noise in urban centres into a renewable energy form.

US & Canada 

US (hearing loss): What Causes Hearing Loss – “Tens of millions of Americans, including 12 percent to 15 percent of school-age children, already have permanent hearing loss caused by the everyday noise that we take for granted as a fact of life.”

US (noise and technology): How to set your Android ringer volume based on ambient noise – “A new Android app called Intelligent Ringer aims to do away with the constant volume adjustments by setting the ringer volume automatically, based on ambient noise levels.”

SARASOTA, US (car noise): Vehicle Noise Crackdown starts April 1 – “The ordinance however may not be without some controversy. Just last December the Florida supreme court struck down a state law banning excessive noise, ruling that loud noise from cars constitutes freedom of expression.”

PHOENIX, US (traffic noise): City council wants noise snare – “City councillors want to strike a deal to bring controversial “noise snare” technology to Saskatoon in an effort to catch and fine loud vehicles. The noise snare uses photo radar, takes a sound pressure reading in decibels and records video and audio, using lasers to determine distance as vehicles pass.”

How the noise snare works:

Latin America

SALVADOR, BRASIL (leisure noise): Salvador trava guerra contra a poluição sonora – “De janeiro até meados deste mês já foram feitas 10.202 denúncias e apreendidos 2.874 aparelhos eletrônicos. O som de carros particulares é a fonte de  45,5% das queixas.”

MANAGUA, NICARÁGUA (noise pollution): El ruido también mata – “[…]debemos tomarnos el tiempo para reflexionar y tomar con seriedad este tipo de TORTURA, así como prevenir, controlar y sancionar oportunamente este maltrato, agresión y evidente vulneración de esenciales derechos humanos como la vida, el descanso y la salud (elementos que se encuentran recogidos en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos y en nuestra Constitución Política).”

Africa and Oceania 

GANA (community noise): Ghana, A Nation of Noise Makers – “In Accra you are usually awaken by different kind of noises. The best part of your sleep is stolen when you have a mosque nearby. A call for dawn prayer is an automatic call for both Muslims and Christians to rise. No group is spared; you must surrender your sleep to support your Muslim folks in prayers. After they finish and when you are about to heave for a respite, then the brothers in Christ on megaphones, picks up the baton on the local street with their usual “onua sakyra wo adwuen” platitude.’

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (occupational noise): Colleague’s voice ruined my hearing: compo claim – “The former procurement official said his co-worker ”shrieked, cackled and chortled” while on the phone at their office in Sydney’s Garden Island Naval base at volumes exceeding nightclub levels of 100 decibels.”


SEAFORD, ENGLAND (silence): Sounds of silence is a hit as recording of empty 12th century village church sells out – “The only sounds that can be heard on the CD are the odd squeaking of the wooden pews, some footsteps and the distant hum of passing traffic.”

VALENCIA, SPAIN (leisure noise): La policía impone en nueve meses casi 60 multas de 2.400 euros por ruido – “La imposición de este tipo de sanciones está aparejada a un fenómeno muy extendido en Valencia como es el botellón que, alentado por las buenas condiciones climáticas, se produce durante casi todo el año pero con especial incidencia en los meses de verano.”

LONDON: London museum cancels heavy metal gig, fearing noise damage – “‘A further safety inspection has revealed concerns that the high level of decibels generated by the concert would damage the historic fabric of the building,’ a museum statement said.”


BALI, INDONESIA (community noise): Splendid Isolation after Horrible Noise at Bali: “This day (the Balinese New Year) is called Nyepi – from ‘sepi’: ‘quiet’ or ‘pure’ in Balinese. Both meanings are apt: although tourists are usually told that the main aim of this very unusual holiday that happens only at Bali is to make demons coming here on the first day of the New Year believe that the island is totally empty, so they would leave, too, in fact, the idea is totally different. Bali is sepi in order to allow the Balinese to purify their body and soul, to reminisce and meditate.”

TOKYO (sound art): Is this the art of noise? – “Visually, the installation, titled “Falling rope,” has a minimalist and brutalist aspect: a speaker hangs by a wire from the ceiling; an ultra thin video screen plays a scene of a waterfall that can only be seen when a light behind it flashes; sparse LED strips have been attached to the wall behind bent plastic sheets; speakers blare out “sub-music” ? sounds that seem to distantly strive toward music in the same way that a moth strives for the moon. The scene evoked is of a post-apocalyptic, vandalized disco, but not nearly as exciting as that sounds.”

INDIA (food noise?) – Heard of noisy food? – “The first in this list is a dish called Bubble and Squeak! It’s made of the leftover vegetables from a roast, most traditionally, potatoes and cabbage, which are mashed and fried together in a pan. The name allegedly comes from the sound the dish makes while it’s cooking.”

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