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Welcome to Peace and Quiet

Here is the Winter 2019 newsletter.

More and more, human-generated, undesirable and unhealthy sound unduly burdens the soundscape - the indispensable, integral acoustic component of our environment.

To bring about awareness of this problem, prevent and abate noise as much as possible, the Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection was established in 1982, with charitable status in Canada.

Our objectives are to promote awareness of the increasing problem of noise pollution and the dangers of noise to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being; to work for noise abatement through regulation and enforcement and by encouraging responsible behaviour; and to foster recognition of the right to quiet as a basic human right.

We do not seek to create an absolutely silent world. However, we want to see a world where quiet is a normal and readily available part of life.

You are cordially invited to explore our website. If you did not
like what you saw here, without telling us, you might consider
leaving quietly.

Thanks for visiting.

If you would like to donate to the Right to Quiet Society,
click here, or en Francais ici.

Follow us on Twitter!


Earth Day has passed, but you can still take our Earth Day Quiz
and test your knowledge of climate change, noise pollution,
and protection of marine and terrestrial habitats.


The 26th International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV26) will be held in Montreal from July 7th through 11th at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal.

The 23rd International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) will be held from September 8 through 13, 2019 in Aachen, Germany.

The International Commission for Acoustics worked for many years to establish a global initiative to highlight the importance of sound and related technologies and the need for quietness and peace in the lives for all in society, and the effort has paid off: 2020 has been declared the International Year of Sound. The effort was described in an editorial by International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV) President Jorge Arenas.

Calendar of meetings and congresses through 2020, compiled by the Information Service of the International Commission for Acoustics


Right to Quiet Society president Hans Schmid and board member Karl Raab participated in a panel discussion at Simon Fraser University on Thursday, February 28th at SFU Harbour Centre.
Scholars Hugh Davies and Barry Truax were also on the panel,
and the event included general discussion with the audience.

The 24th International Noise Awareness Day was observed
on April 24, 2019. The Center for Hearing and Communication founded this global event in 1996 to encourage people all over the world to raise awareness of the effects that environmental noise has on health and well-being.

Noise is more than an annoyance; it is one of our most serious environmental problems, as well as a public health issue deserving of more attention. In 2017, our New York City members and friends observed the day by holding an educational event focusing on books about noise at the Flatbush Library in Brooklyn. In 2018, they participated in a live streamed YouTube event organized by the Acoustical Society of America in New York City, tied in with a competition to submit the most SoundPrint restaurant sound level reports. In 2019, one of our NYC members gave a talk about noise and citizen science at the Clarendon Library in Brooklyn. Presenters included the Hush City app developer and featured demonstrations of apps that measure and describe sound in different settings.
Read about the inception of International Noise Awareness Day.


Educational Curriculum in Schools

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has created a comprehensive, multidisciplinary teaching module for public schools to introduce students and teachers to topics related to the sound environment. New Yorker Arline Bronzaft, environmental psychologist, noise researcher, and champion of sound education, believes that we should start educating children early on about the dangers of noise. "We must teach young people about the beauty of 'good' sounds and the dangers of harmful sounds." The Right to Quiet Society is impressed with this STEM curriculum, and encourages Vancouver public school administrators to consider implementing this program.

Citizen Science Gains Popularity

Smartphone-based sound level measuring apps have been around for a few years, but they seem to have really taken off during the last year. One New York City quiet seeker has created a directory of mostly quiet eateries using the SoundMeter app, which some consider to be the gold standard in terms of accuracy. The Quiet City Maps author visits establishments, records sound levels, and writes reviews that report on the food and drink, and the sound level, getting into a good amount of detail rather than just reporting a number.

The SoundPrint app was developed to measure restaurant, bar, and caf‌é noise so that diners can locate quiet venues where there is better ease of communication, and for some, more enjoyment. People can also search for noisier establishments if they prefer. Either way, users can contribute by taking sound level measurements with the app's internal sound level meter whenever out at a venue, and submitting them to SoundPrint's database, which is collecting data to create "Quiet Venue" lists in several cities both in the US and Canada, and use the data to promote noise pollution awareness. In 2017, two new restaurant sound level measuring apps were developed, and the Right to Quiet Society is happy to know that so many people are interested in working on projects that address restaurant noise.

The Hush City app helps quiet lovers access and evaluate "everyday quiet areas" where they live, and users submit their findings to the app developer's international database. The app developer is an architect and professor who believes that consideration of the sound environment should be an integral part of all building design and urban planning, rather than an afterthought or an aspect to be improved upon later.

Action Alert: Monitor Aircraft Noise (CA)

Real time noise tracking using WebTrak for YVR, an online tool for tracking aircraft within the Metro Vancouver airspace. WebTrak is a noise monitoring and flight tracking system. Read more here. Noise complaint submission form is here.

Action Alert: Write TRAN Committee (CA)

Read Jan Mayes' open letter to government TRAN Committee to assess the impact of aircraft noise in the vicinity of major Canadian airports, and support this effort with your own letter.

Action Alert: Support S.3385 (US)

A US member of the Right to Quiet Society who serves on a committee within the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association asks that US citizens use this form to urge their senators to cosponsor proposed senate bill S.3385, the Quiet Communities Act of 2018.

Read proposed Quiet Communities Act of 2018.

Read the APHA policy statement on environmental noise pollution.

Read APHA Executive Director's letter of support for H.R. 3384, Quiet Communities Act of 2016.

Read the American Academy of Nursing position statement.

Read the American Academy of Nursing policy brief.

"If we had a category for endangered conditions as we do for endangered species, then quiet would certainly top the list. Quiet has already largely disappeared from many urban areas. There is ever more encroachment of human-generated noise on the soundscape, the "habitat" of quiet, that quiet gets pushed to the brink of extinction."

Excerpt of a letter to the editor of Alive magazine, September 2010, by Hans Schmid.

Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere."

— Dr. William H. Stewart, former Surgeon General of the United States

About the Right to Quiet Society To contact us See our sitemap