Laurence Freeman: "Average city noise today often reaches 70 decibels which is equivalent to being in a room with a loud vacuum cleaner . . . we are becoming acclimatized to noise . . . Urban evolution means accommodating ourselves to the noise of traffic, planes, subway trains, construction, fridges, leaf blowers, noisy neighbors and ever-louder muzak in elevators and restaurants . . . getting used to such noise levels is harmful. It is a form of pollution causing insomnia, depression, aggression and isolation. Noise is more than a nuisance. It is a serious problem . . .
Exposure to (the noise in modern urban life) effects us when . . . we withdraw to a quiet place . . . Arriving in a truly quiet place . . . can at first be a shock. We wait for familiar levels of loud noise and, at first, can feel a sense of absence, even of loss, when they don't come. Then we notice that there are sounds. Not noise. But sounds, natural sounds. There is birdsong, a quite excited sound when you really listen to it and full of meanings we can't decipher; and insects, the constant background sounds of summer days and nights; and the wind in the trees . . ."
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