Complaints of noise pollution are falling on deaf ears.

People have always complained that cities are noisy places to live, but the cities of yesterday have nothing on the ruckus going on today. We might do well to invest in some sign language classes.

People have always complained that cities are noisy places to live, but the cities of yesterday have nothing on the ruckus going on today.

We might do well to invest in some sign language classes. The damage to hearing caused by all the noise might make it our only means of communication in person.

Philadelphia is certainly no exception from the noise wars, and I’d wager a guess that it might be one of the noisiest cities in the world. It sure seems that way to me.

We are experiencing a daily and continual noise symphony. And, let me tell you, it’s hardly music to these ears.

Try being in an elevator next to someone with headphones. Has anyone ever not heard what that person is listening to at that moment?

How about being stuck in the elevator with multiple headsets?

How about when the person listening tries to strike up a tune?

Dueling songfests can wear a person down when he is stuck between floors with Fiona Apple and Marc Anthony.

Maybe it is just my experience but I have yet to run into any of them who can really sing. Since they cannot hear anything but the music, they are truly oblivious and don’t realize that dogs from foreign lands are howling for them to stop.

Then there are the cool guys and gals, cruising around in the street at all hours of the day and night, blasting their music of choice.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the volume distorts the beauty of the singer’s voice or the song. All that really seems to matter is that the music has to be loud.

It’s something that escapes me. Putting aside my annoyance, why would anyone want to blast the hell out of his or her eardrums in this way?

Can it be to project a cool, hip image to anyone and everyone they pass in their travels? Is it designed as some sort of deafening mating call?

It used to be the consensus, in years past, that it was the elderly who couldn’t hear.

Images of grandmas and grandpas with hands cupping their ears to hear better, loudly barking, “Hey? What’s that?” now seem passe.

In fact many of the elderly I have witnessed seem to be hearing considerably better than their younger counterparts, judging from their ability to converse quietly.

Seriously, have you ever noticed how very few people have quiet, private conversations on buses and trains anymore?

I can only speculate that some of that is because of constant exposure to loud music. It is the only reason I can think of that so many seem to be screaming at each other.

The result is that we all wind up privy to the latest installments of “What John did to me” and “Can you believe what she said to Dennis?”

And, although no stranger to raw language, I do hate to hear it screamed across aisles and stations. That hatred has less to do with foul language itself than it does with the loud, classless way it is imposed upon everyone.

The speaker often sounds very much like an attacking bird.

Yet another noisy situation occurs almost nightly on South Street and it’s doubly bad on weekends. I’m talking about the drivers who jam the street. First off, I must admit that I often find it somewhat humorous to watch these people sitting in traffic for such long periods.

We all know what South Street is like to drive on. Why would anyone choose to sit in traffic for extended periods of time? Why get irritable about it? You made an obvious choice knowing full well there would be heavy traffic on the street.

So somebody please clarify for me why people honk and holler when they get stuck.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I really believe that people who travel the Broad Street subway daily are going to lose their hearing before their time.

When did that line become so incredibly loud? I began to notice a harsh acceleration in the noise level about two years ago. It crept up on me that whenever a train was passing the Cecil B. Moore stop I began to wince.

Soon I was wincing and having to cover my ears. I thought, “Are my ears this sensitive to noise and I’ve never realized it? How come it only seems to affect me?”

I know I sound like a version of Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond but I also know that all of the above are beginning to have a harmful effect on my hearing.

I am sure that we will all suffer, to varying degrees, some diminishing of our hearing ability as we get older. That is an unavoidable fact of life, but it seems to me that the current level of noise pollution almost surely will speed up the process considerably for many.

So, to all those Walkmans, elevator and subway serenades, street-cruising noisemakers, and even SEPTA: Listen up and turn it down!

Give my ears a break. Unless you’ve got stock in Miracle Ear hearing aids, it is foolish not to join my cause.

You could choose to ignore the matter entirely. They are, after all, your ears. But, as the volume goes up and your ability to hear goes down, you might find that your silence, in the long haul, could be deafening.

1 Comment

  1. I’m tired of reading about the noise ( who do u call in philly to complain, is there a number, a noise department, anything. My neighborhood has a guy with 2 motorcyles and a unmuffler scooter and rides it around hour after hour even at night//// everyone complains (the neighbors, but nothing is done about it. (the police dont care, several of us have already tried that//// on top of that none of the vehicles are even registered, no plates nothing///// what can one do?

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