Summer shifting into fall touches our senses in several ways. Visually, the leaves change colour and the angle of the sunlight changes. We notice the temperature begin to drop and the winds picking up. Many of us will feel more alert and re-energized after the lazy days of summer, more engaged and inspired to action. And – welcome to many – we may hear … LESS!!!
Some of the sounds of summer are welcome but some of them are just noise. And noise can interefere with our comfort, our conversations, our sleep, our work and play and our peace of mind. Overall summer is a very noisy season. There are at least three reasons for this.
1. It’s a NOISE-MAKING time of year
Summer is the season of road repair, new construction and home renovation in the city: loud machinery, drilling, sawing and banging. Big trucks hauling materials. Of motorized boats and personal watercraft and kids having fun at the lake. Of people on porches and decks, on restaurant patios and the streets and sidewalks, talking and laughing. Of street festivals and concerts and fireworks. So much NOISE!!!
2. Sound TRAVELS in the outdoors
Not only is a lot of sound created by summertime activities, moreof it reaches our ears. Have you ever marveled at how far away you can hear the call of a loon? Soundwaves can travel long distances through calm air over lakes and other open spaces, free of barriers or dissipating factors such as wind. (Unless it DOES encounter something, say a mountain or canyon wall, and bounces back as an echo.)
3. Fewer sound BARRIERS
Of course, after a long Canadian winter, with the arrival of spring and sunshine and warmth, one of the first things we want to do is to throw open our windows, to take in the light and fresh air. And with that, comes all that sound!
Windows are not normally soundproof, but depending on the quality of the glass and number of layers, they will block SOME noise. (Special soundproof windows and other treatments are available to block a lot of noise.) The open window blocks exactly …. no noise. You hear it all.
So summertime often means a lot of outdoor sound is created, travels far, and reaches us through our open windows … it’s “the noisy season”. Purportedly we can thank the noise of summer for the rise of office air conditioning! Employers loved it, because they could close the windows of their workplaces in the summertime. The street noise had been distracting workers from their jobs!
Noise – that is, “unwanted sound”- is not only irritating, it CAN be a serious distraction. Many studies have shown that noise can affect us physically – increasing blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline. It distracts our attention and interferes with concentration, productivity, learning and memory.
So while we may mourn the shortening daylight and passing of another summer, we can be grateful that quieter times lie ahead.