The interactive map below rates 100 cities surveyed from noisiest (100) to quietest (1). Each city was checked out to determine whether it has laws limiting excessive noise, such as from construction, honking horns, or barking dogs. Next, the Texas Transportation Institute presented study officials with a list of the most traffic-congested towns, and Boeing (of airplane fame) produced a list of cities that impose a curfew on airports' overnight flights. Finally, the percentage of people who report sleeping seven hours or less per night was contributed by Experian Consumer Research. .
(Graphic courtesy of Men's Health Metrograde, May 2009)
If you love peace and quiet, then Hartford, Connecticut might be a great place to live. Hartford logged the quietest zip code in a survey of 100 U.S.cities, but it’s the loudest cities we’re interested in.
Rated on a scale of one to 100 (one being the quietest – hello, Hartford!) and 100 being the loudest (Detroit – anyone surprised?), some of the results are a bit unexpected; Bangor Maine, the hometown of Author Stephen King ranks much louder (74) than Los Angeles (50).
When it comes to noisy, all the usual suspects are here – New York (86), Chicago (95), Miami (96), Philadelphia (97). In California, Oakland scores the second highest ranking for noise (99) and San Francisco is not far behind at 93; Houston and Dallas, Texas are in the top 10 at 92 and 90 respectively.
Urban life is noisy, everyone knows this; but many Americans can’t imagine living any other way. However, those people who love their lives in the city may not be considering the repercussions of daily exposure to high noise levels, which affects everything from our blood pressure and heart rate, to our sleep patterns. Noise can make us sick. Even if we think we’ve grown accustomed to the din of our surroundings, our bodies are affected by noise in a way that can rob us of our hearing, ability to concentrate, and even ability to heal after illness or injury. Children raised in noisy environments have a harder time than their peers with school work. Elderly people exposed to high noise levels experienced exaggerated symptoms of illness, anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation.
Noise is a part of the modern world, but the more aware we are of how it affects us and how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones at home, at work, in our schools, hospitals and public buildings, the sooner we can address the seriousness of noise pollution in a meaningful way.
Do you live in one of the country's noisiest cities, or did you in the past? Tell us what you think of living with noise. Has it affected your health, your hearing, or your ability to sleep? What measures have you taken, or considered taking, to reduce noise in your worrld?