Noisy Neighbors Impact Life Quality

When “Love They Neighbor” Excludes Church Bells

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – Instances of litigation over noise are on the rise across the U.S., and Acoustiblok is committed to finding solutions to noise problems before legal actions begin. Many of our customers come to us because they want to be good neighbors. However in some cases, nuisance noise isn’t so easily solved.

The meaning of ‘love thy neighbor’ was challenged in court recently, when a Phoenix, Arizona judge was asked to decide between the rights of two neighbors: a church that played recorded bells through a loudspeaker 13 times a day, and annoyed residents who wanted quiet.

According to The Arizona Republic, The Cathedral of Christ the King was cited last year for violating a Phoenix “nuisance and noise” ordinance and its bishop given a 10-day suspended jail sentence after neighbors complained about the bells chiming hourly from 8AM to 8PM, seven days a week. In response, the church sued the city, claiming the noise ordinance was not only unconstitutional but written so that it was “impossible for a person to know if a noise he is making is against the law.”

A federal judge ruled that the church’s “interests of free speech and religious expression” outweighed the arguments of the neighbors. Readers of the Republic pondered the nuances of noise.

“What about all the folks riding their loud Harleys and pickup trucks up and down the street all day and night?” asked one. “How’s that any different?”

There’s “a big difference between legal (ringing bells) and moral (respecting your neighbors and not annoying them),” wrote another. Tell us what you think: Should one kind of “noise” be more protected than another? Do churches have an extra responsibility to be sensitive to their neighbors—or the other way around?

Excerpted from an article by Kathy McManus in The Responsibility Project

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

Dealing With Noise When You’re the Noisy Neighbor

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – You’ve heard the warnings many times before, and you’re even beginning to become aware of it in your own environment. Noise pollution is taking a toll on our health according to medical researchers around the globe. We all need to step up to the plate and make an effort to quiet our environments before the noise makes us ill, or worse.

Worse? Yes. Noise can kill us.  It can also drive us to do crazy things.

I have written plenty of articles about the health effects of noise on humans, animals, and plant life. I have covered new findings relating traffic noise to increased incidents of heart attack, and ambient environmental noise to a host of disorders from sleeplessness to depression, increased blood pressure, delayed recovery from major illnesses and even surgery. Noise can be toxic, but if we all become at least somewhat mindful of the health risks of noise, we can take steps toward making our environments quieter, healthier places.

Once we do that, we can sit back and enjoy our improved quality of life, and watch it work its magic on our friends and families, right?  Think about it, if we suddenly all became hyper-vigilant about our own noise emissions and eradicated 90 percent of environmental noise overnight, the serenity might be overwhelming. Would we know what to do with it, or what it would sound like?

In addition to the toll environmental noise pollution takes on our bodies, there is another way noise can lead to death – murder. Seriously, folks are murdering each other over loud stereos and high volume parties in rising numbers, and this is a whole new side effect of noise that I think we’d better start paying closer attention to. People are killing each other over noise, and the problem seems to be worsening.

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life

OK, we know theoretically that neighbors have had deadly disputes  since the Hatfields and McCoys began murdering each other back in 1863 and didn’t stop until 1891. Of course, their ongoing feud wasn’t started because of noise, but it created a whole lot of noise for both families and their neighbors on the West Virginia–Kentucky border.  Noise can be scary and intimidating, it can be used as a weapon. The Hatfield/McCoy noise occurred in the days before restraining orders and costly noise citations were issued to prevent crimes between neighbors, so it probably got pretty loud over there on the Kentucky/West Virginia border.

Fast Forward to Brentwood California, 2004. I once watched a television news report about Actress Julie Newmar, whose Brentwood home is next door to the home of Actor James Belushi. For years these two have been making each other’s lives miserable, a feud triggered when the aging Catwoman first complained about Belushi’s loud music invading her serene home environment.

Now, neighborly spats over noise, and one neighbor’s refusal to turn down the volume causing the offended neighbor to set off on a “campaign of harassment” (so said Belushi’s $4 million lawsuit against Newman when the back and forth became unbearable) is nothing new, and neither of them killed each other (although both alluded to fantasizing about it). But they each had blood pressure spiking for years, trouble sleeping, and heightened states of stress. But, other than the fact that this was Catwoman and the younger brother of the late, great Bluto, they could easily be any two American neighbors being driven crazy over one man’s music being another man’s inability to cope.

It’s never healthy when neighbors begin behaving like bullies, but what’s worse is when one neighbor loses site of reality and takes their rage to the next level. Some people are truly hypersensitive to noise, and it can become pathological. Ligyrophobia is literally a fear of noise, and although not every guy who goes off on a tirade over the neighbor’s barking dog or noise coming from a party is ligyrophobic, you don’t want to be blasting AC/DC in your garage if your neighbor happens to suffer from the condition. Let’s face it, we really do need to become more considerate, we never know when our neighbor might have a legitimate sensitivity to noise. Ligyrophic or not, he or she may have suffered from a traumatic event in their lives, or even an illness that left them with a low tolerance for noise.

Or, they could be doing a schedule II drug like methamphetamine, which can make a person overreact to even the slightest stimuli, in which case it’s just not safe to egg them on.

Such was the case last month in Woodlawn, California when police were called to a home on a noise complaint. When they arrived on the scene, a man who wasn’t happy about noise coming from his neighbor’s house had worked himself up into quite a frenzy, flashing a toy gun he held under a towel at police – the same toy gun he had waved at his noisy neighbors just minutes earlier in an encouraging gesture to get them to turn down their stereo.  Of course, brandishing even a toy gun is highly illegal, especially when you do it with methamphetamine in your bloodstream and in a little bag hidden in your sock for later. Had the toy gun been real, the noisy neighbors may never have learned how close to a psychotic episode their noise-sensitive by means of meth neighbor had come, and how seriously agitated he was over their loud music.

Methamphetamine ingestion can cause a person do rash things he or she might never do ordinarily, like shoot their noisy neighbors who refuse a request to pipe down.

And for more than a year we’ve been glued to the trial of a 46-year-old retired firefighter from Houston who shot his unarmed neighbor, a 36-year-old school teacher, over noise coming from a birthday party being hosted in the school teacher’s home next door. The shooter, Raul Rodriguez, insisted he had the right to “stand his ground” at the base of the noisy neighbor’s driveway and shoot the neighbor along with two other victims. Rodriguez had a reputation for being a hothead and a bully, and he seriously believed he could use deadly force against a neighbor because the birthday party noise was agitating him. He’ll spend 40 years in prison, having been convicted of murdering his neighbor over noise.

Weren’t most of us at one time that smart aleck who thought it was funny to crank the stereo louder when a neighbor complained? It really wasn’t a thoughtful gesture, and had I known then what I know now, I would not have participated in those antics. Noise is perceived differently by everyone, and even the most level headed among us, when subjected to noise that is invasive and inescapable for an extended period of time can be driven nuts. Our bodies aren’t designed for long stretches of high decibels. Some of us are more sensitive to noise than others. Of course, we expect our neighbors not to turn into murderous lunatics over sounds that we enjoy and relate to good times, but if they’ve knocked on your door, called you on your phone, or contacted the police because the noise is bothering them, they’re telling you the noise is too loud.

Turn it down. Buy some headphones. Install soundproofing material in your garage or home media room to block and absorb noise so you can crank your stereo without invading your neighbor’s privacy.

Everyone will live longer.

Do Noisy Neighbors Define the Quality of Your Life?

Noisy Neighbors Impact Life – As the old saying goes, good fences make good neighbors. Unfortunately, life with noisy neighbors is more complicated than that. Is the fence on the right side of the property line? Are there any overhanging branches or roots sneaking under the fence? Is there a dog barking constantly, or at odd hours behind that fence?

“Neighbors really define your quality of life,” says Emily Doskow, a lawyer and co-author of “Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise” (1991, updated 2011, Nolo). Living with a noisy neighbor  can be incredibly wearing and turn a peaceful community into a battleground.

Additionally, with more people working from home today, daytime sounds that may once have gone unnoticed can create high levels of tension.

In most suburban neighborhoods, barking dogs are the worst noise offenders. Craig Mixon, a Northern California homeowner, became so bothered by barking dogs in the neighborhood that  he started  barkingdogs.net, a web site that offer resources for others who are dealing with the same problem.

Mixon, a master dog trainer, tried talking to neighbors who owned the offending dogs, even offering to train the dogs for them. Nothing worked.

Regulations about barking dogs or other noise from neighbors vary according to town. In some cases, they are covered by noise laws, in others by nuisance laws.

Once-friendly neighbor relationships can be torn apart by noisy dogs. In Mixon’s community, one neighbor put their dogs outside, often all day, in a lawn surrounded by an invisible fence, which offered no noise barrier when the dogs began barking. Several neighbors approached the dog owners gently to ask that something be done, to no avail.

One neighbor did call town officials to see what could be done, but was told that noise laws applied from dusk to dawn, which may work in the winter, but not so well in the summer when days are long and nights are short. And she didn’t feel comfortable complaining because the town would take complaints only from people who gave their names.

“Towns need to have better dog laws,” she said.