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for Soundscape Awareness and Protection
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Web Site: www.quiet.org E-mail: info@quiet.org

Cartoon
Winter 2009


 Happy, quiet new year!

Distress call from New Zealand

Natasha S. wrote by e-mail:

Hi, I am writing because I am considering suicide because I can't stand this noisy world any more. Either that, or find a surgeon willing to make me profoundly deaf so I don't have to put up with unwanted noise any more.

I didn't feel this way (or at least so strongly) until I moved to a unit by a busy intersection. (I live in new Zealand). The traffic is very heavy. I wear earplugs almost all the time, whether I'm out or home. I wear custom‑made ones at night. The noise that drives me crazy is the almost constant low‑bass thrum of the 'hoon' vehicles, the boom‑boxes, and the thumping stereos. There is also an idiot who drives round at night sometimes very aggressively, making his tyres scream as he sits at the lights before roaring off in a rage it seems. I get distressed and frightened and want to cry.

I can't enjoy my music any more, unless I wear earplugs, which means I have to turn it up. I can only use my kitchen and bathroom with earplugs and the fan on in bathroom. I fantasise about murder daily, pelting these noisy cars with rocks and shooting the drivers. I think about suicide often and wonder about perforating my eardrums to escape the noise.

I don't think I'm crazy. But I can't take this noisy world any more. I will move as soon as I can, but there's always the fear: what if I exchange one problem for another? What if I end up living next door to someone with a thumping stereo or endlessly barking dog? There are noise laws in this country, and reasonably good ones, but the idea of always having to move to find that quiet place I crave drives me to despair. I've moved four times since June already (not always due to noise).

Do you know if there is such an operation for those who don't want to hear any more? Sure, it would mean I wouldn't hear nice noises like birds and music of my choice, but believe me, I would be willing to sacrifice the few noises I find pleasant to avoid the noises that make me want to cry on a daily basis. It's either that or I think some more about suicide.

—Natasha.

Reply:

Thanks for your message. I am sorry to hear/read about your rather severe problem with noise. It is not uncommon for us to hear of people considering suicide as an escape from intolerable noise. As serious as this may be, we would rather suggest trying different means of coping.

First of all, one always should attempt to thoroughly analyse the matter and then build a strategy based on that. The perpetrators (noise makers) most often do not intentionally target one specific "victim." They are either blissfully unaware of their action causing others problems, or they are driven by an innate pathological urge to "be noticed." Of course, to be noticed could be done in many different ways, also in pleasant, constructive ones. However, the latter ways require one to think, while simply making noise comes easily: just follow an innate instinctual egocentric urge.

Continued on page 2...

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