by Ted Rueter

Durham Herald-Sun

April 18, 2015

Act against scourge of noise

April 20-24 is Earth Week, a time to celebrate nature and the need to protect our air, water and land. But what about the need to protect peace and quiet?

The United States is becoming increasingly noisy. Americans are assaulted by noise from blasting motorcycles, loud car stereos and airplanes. Many neighborhoods are overrun with constant lawn mowing, leaf blowers, dog barking, car alarms and horn-honking.

Indeed, American culture seems to celebrate loudness. There are many contests to create the world’s loudest car stereo system. Many Americans love their huge-screen TVs and outdoor speaker systems. Football fans in Seattle and Kansas City have competed to create the loudest NFL stadium (hashtag “Loud and Proud!”).

All of this noise is extremely harmful. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise causes hearing loss, sleep loss, chronic fatigue, ringing of the ears, heart problems, and aggravated behavior.

Excessive noise violates an individual’s right to peacefully enjoy his or her own home. The nation needs to take action against the scourge of noise. Municipalities should pass strong anti-noise ordinances, which should be strictly enforced. Congress should reestablish the federal noise pollution control office. The EPA should enforce existing regulations against excessive motorcycle noise.

One step in creating a quieter, more peaceful world is to join Noise Free America (

Ted Rueter