February 1, 2011
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Albany: Hanover-McSherrystown, Pennsylvania has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for tolerating acoustical assaults on autistic children and adults. Like many American communities, Hanover-McSherrystown is overrun with noise from boom cars, loud mufflers, motorcycles, leaf blowers, and barking dogs.
Hanover is a borough in York County, Pennsylvania, 54 miles northwest of Baltimore. The area of home to historical sites of national significance, including President Dwight David Eisenhower’s retirement home and the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Unfortunately, many youth in Hanover-McSherrystown disrespect the memory of our former president by turning Eisenhower Drive into a “decibel drag raceway’ almost every night of the week,” according to Jeff Hess, a resident of Hanover.
One particularly egregious example of excessive noise in Hanover was the recent Halloween parade in October 2010. This is a 69-year tradition sponsored by the Hanover Jaycees. Streets were lined with thousands of young and old residents, from the formation area to the end of the parade.
As the parade progressed, windows started to rattle and low frequency vibrations filled the air. Onlookers wondered what was coming down the street from the formation area. As the first “thumps” came around the corner, many people got excited at finally seeing the first officially sanctioned “DB Drag Race” in the greater Hanover area. Upon rounding the corner, the approximately dozen completely tricked-out (DB race style) boom cars revved up the sound systems to ear-splitting volumes. Others with autism tried to cover their ears–to no avail. Jeff Hess states, “Apparently, parade organizers thought everyone would be happy by springing this on crowds at the last minute. However, not everyone was pleased at having their autistic children’s sensitivity exploited for the masses.”
A child can sometimes cover his or her ears while starting to scream due to the intense and painful auditory stimulation that ear plugs and muffs cannot shut out. Then an onlooker will take the typical Hanover way and scream at you to control your “little brat.” Typically, it will intensify until law enforcement arrives to accuse the parents of “disorderly conduct” when the boom car was the cause of the auditory stimuli. And the bottom line result is that a child may lose most of their acoustic reflex from the extremely amplified low frequency vibrations that were being emitted by these DB Drag Racing type boom cars participating in the parade.
Adults with vibroacoustic disease also suffer. One individual was ready to call for medical assistance at the onset of Tullio’s syndrome. According to Jeff Hess, “It appears that no one cares enough about the greater Hanover soundscape to avoid intentionally inflicting pain and hearing loss on autistic children and adults.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Hanover-McSherrystown also “won” the Noisy Dozen award in June 2003, “for allowing a region of great beauty and historical significance to be overrun with boom car terrorists.”