BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Monday, July 16, 2018

Noise Doubles Heart Attack Rates

We live in an increasingly cacophonous world. Even here in Baiting Hollow, where the background noise level (in the absence of aircraft) is around 20 dB, quiet is rare, mainly because of aircraft (for example, the above recent livestream). We are on the direct routes from Manhattan to East Hampton (mostly smaller low flying aircraft, around 2500 feet or lower) and Europe to JFK (jumbo jets at 10,000 feet), and there's an enormous amount of General Aviation, including a nearby farmer who jumps in his plane and circles over me whenever the skies are quieter. But I remember as a child of 10 looking up with interest when once every few days a plane appeared in the sky (as I still do in Eleuthera). The following graph ( tells the story:
Exponential growth since 1950 - doubling time approximately 11 years! What this means is that in my lifetime we have completely lost one of the most important attributes of the world: outdoor quiet! It's irrevocably gone, like the dodo, the Carolina parakeet and the ivory-billed woodpecker. I find this incredibly sad, and also appalling. Peace and quiet would, after food, shelter and friendship, top almost everyone's list of desires, but to all intents and purposes it's completely gone (except perhaps deep in the heart of the Hoh Rainforest of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula). All in the name of "convenience", and not even a whisper of protest.

From the Wikipedia article on aircraft noise:

"A large-scale statistical analysis of the health effects of aircraft noise was undertaken in the late 2000s by Bernhard Greiser for the Umweltbundesamt, Germany's central environmental office. The health data of over one million residents around the Cologne airport were analysed for health effects correlating with aircraft noise. The results were then corrected for other noise influences in the residential areas, and for socioeconomic factors, to reduce possible skewing of the data.[10]
The German study concluded that aircraft noise clearly and significantly impairs health.[10] For example, a day-time average sound pressure level of 60 decibels increasing coronary heart disease by 61% in men and 80% in women. As another indicator, a night-time average sound pressure level of 55 decibels increased the risk of heart attacks by 66% in men and 139% in women. Statistically significant health effects did however start as early as from an average sound pressure level of 40 decibels.[10]"

1 comment:

  1. It seems that in the last few weeks more and more planes and helicopters are passing extremely low directly overhead here in Woodcliff. Park. There is no way to enforce the "fly over the water" regulation merely suggested by Schumer a few years ago. The rich and famous must enjoy a close-up, personal view of our fancy abodes.
    It is truly heartbreaking for our wildlife.