Rural System's

The Soundscape Group (Earshot)


The progress of a race in civilization may be marked by a steady reduction in the volumn of sound which it produces. The more culture of all kinds it acquires, the less noise it produces.
E.L. Godkin, founder of The Nation magazine

Thomas Edison once predicted American city dwellers all would be deaf.

Raymond W. Smilor (author of "Hearing History") served as an officer of the Society for the Supression of Unnecessary Noise. Under growing pressure from citizen's groups, some cities regulate train whistles, roosters, hawking peddlars, auctions, fireworks, and nighttime music, and created quiet zones around hospitals, schools, assisted living, and other places.

There are well known landscapes, but few people have heard of soundscapes. They become more important each day as trying to find a quiet place to work, think, meditate or live a stress-reduced life becomes more difficult.

The Soundscape Group or Earshot includes work with Nature Folks and trying to listen for the sounds of nature such as the calls of birds and particularly the night sounds of amphibians. It forms a paying membership, issues a newsletter, sells equipment, sells tours, and provides services for industry certifying certain noise lavels and changes resulting from management, private groups promoting a more quiet space, and sales of services for quieting situations (such as buildings, dogs, individuals, and equipment.) It utilizes research on noise attenuation resulting from vegetation. See the list of potential activities below and Noise notes within The Trevey.

Giles once tried to capture the sounds of a forest and to see if a difference could be detected before and after a pesticide application. (It could not with the instrumentation available to him at the time.)

The GIS can be used to analyze gun shots to assist in law violation detection. The hunted zone and its gun noises (randomly distributed gunners) might be mapped for general interest. Locating houses and recreational sites can be done with noise sources in mind and measures (or topography) selected to reduce effects of noise on people. Whether new noise from a proposed development is the subject of great interest as impacts are studied.

The company may be able to be profitable from a series of activities:

  1. Measuring sound levels for a price
  2. Recommending noise reductions strategies
  3. Commissioning hearing tests and therapy
  4. Publishing books
  5. Developing GIS maps for industries etc.
  6. Testifying about the impacts of proposed developments on nursing homes, hospitals, residences, etc.
  7. Documenting a baseline of noise and issuing an annual report of the change from the base
  8. Advising on vegetation (or its removal) as it may affect noise
  9. Reporting on the effects of specimen trees and wildlife trees and shrubs on sounds and noise levels
  10. Working with home builders to seek improved life quality for residents as related to interior sounds
  11. Seeking grants to monitor a sample of local people as a hearing baseline.
  12. Selling booklets and magazine articles describing sounds, noises, noise abatement and health relations
  13. Converting sound levels to color and creating soundscape maps
  14. Promoting ear and noise protection
  15. Selling hearing -protection devices

Noise Abatement

Noise from airports, highways, and industrial development ... even recreational area use may increase. A noise abatement program (study, with implementation) can be preventive and help in achieving desired conditions for people and wildlife.

One performance measure for overall FAA system success included in FAA planning documents is to count and report the number of homes and public buildings exposed to greater than a 65 Day-Night Level (DNL) in areas adjacent to airports.The number should be stable or decreasing.

A noise abatement program is likely to be a complex system with many objectives or goals and have more than the following expanded elements :