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Excessive noise is hurting us

Celebrate but think of others: During our Cup Match festivities, parties are held with loud music that could penetrate homes where an elderly person may be trying to rest, our columnist says (File photograph)

Noise is a part of community life around the world, and that is a reality most of us accept. However, many are unaware of the amount of damage that excessive noise can cause to those often exposed to loud sounds for long periods, without any control or say in the matter.

Excessive noise is an issue in many countries, large and small, because studies show the human nervous system can be affected by loud noises to an extent where even behavioural patterns change. Some studies have shown people to be so affected by loud noises that they have required medical attention.

Here in Bermuda, the issue can be more than delicate because of limited space and rapidly expanding commercial growth that continues to squeeze out areas where old-fashioned quietness was a way of life for years.

There are seniors who can recall when excessive noise by loud, motorised vehicles, or music from speakers that rattled windows, was non-existent.

These people understand that nothing stays the same, and that in a fast-changing modern world, lifestyles have undergone drastic changes that even the law has had difficulty in keeping pace with.

Excessive noise and the effect it has on people on a regular basis is probably one of the most challenging problems facing many countries, including Bermuda.

The noise problem here has been building over several decades, and some have come to accept it as a part of modern-day living, along with other changes in our way of life.

There are laws governing excessive noise after midnight and police have had to deal with various complaints from time to time.

This can be a touchy situation, as people can become emotional when told to lower the volume when a party is in full swing. When people party over a two-day holiday period and things are going great, they tend to lose sense of others regarding sound levels. This can be very annoying to those forced to listen to loud music against their will.

Most Bermudians are quite reasonable, and tolerant, and would prefer not to call police when this happens, despite knowing that even a polite request to turn down the volume may not be welcomed.

The noise factor goes much further than that. There are times it seems there are more vehicles than people on the Island, and some have sounds that threaten the strongest of eardrums.

With the amount of economic problems the Island is facing, it would seem futile to even be talking about noise pollution issues, yet it has been a slowly creeping element that remains a threat to our environment.

During events such as our prestigious Cup Match two-day holiday, parties are held with loud music that can penetrate homes, where at times an elderly person may be trying to rest.

If people exercised greater responsibility in control of their music, there would be no need for police intervention, especially after midnight.

A challenging part to this is that there is usually someone who may be over the edge with drinks or whatever, and could not care less about others living nearby.

As Bermudians, we need to be conscious of behaving with responsibility when it comes to excessive noise levels in our neighbourhoods. We can all play a part in making this happen.

Perhaps this subject is in need of further study by our authorities to determine whether things could be slipping out of control.

It should be the hope of all that the Cup Match holiday will be an opportunity for Bermudians to have a great time in an atmosphere of consideration and respect for others.

In that way, everyone would be a winner.