The day not heard ’round the world (not without your help, that is) is International Noise Awareness Day (INAD). The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) founded this day in 1996 to support people fed up with being subjected to harmful noise. Not only bad for your hearing, too-high noise levels are linked to emotional and even physical health problems. Thanks to everyone who organized activities or spread the word, and reached out to us to share your work this year.

International Noise Awareness Day was yesterday, April 24, 2013, and CHC commemorated the day with free hearing screenings from our mobile audiology unit on the streets of New York City — specifically, downtown at City Hall.

Every year, we hear from people all over the world letting us know what they’re up to on International Noise Awareness Day.

Ing. Marcelo Herrera Martinez, PhD, a professor at the University of San Buenaventura’s Sound Engineering Programme in Bogota, Colombia, tells us he and his colleagues held a scientific poster session and two conferences about noise impact and broadcast them to countries as far as the Czech Republic.

Dr. C.G. Manoj Kumar is the Medical Department Head of the Arab Shipbuilding & Repair Yard Co. (ASRY) in Bahrain; he reports that employees in high noise mapped areas were provided hearing tests, information sessions, and hearing protection.

Some other participants who shared their activities or thoughts on International Noise Awareness Day:

  • Ilmārs Randers, representative of Riga, a co-financed European Union project in Latvia for innovative noise abatement solutions. More info on their work here.
  • Ms. Jeanine Botta says she’s a “resident of one of the noisiest neighborhoods on earth” and is a grad student at CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College; a member of the Right to Quiet Society; and organizer of
  • Dr. Sonja Jeram of  the Slovenian National Institute of Public Health in Ljubljana.
  • Giovanna Troncoso, President of FUNDACION OIR ES VIVIR (To Hear Is Living Foundation) in Panama.
  • Hans Schmid of the Right to Quiet Society in Vancouver, Canada.

And here in New York City, we’re getting ready for “Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s newest $250,000 public health campaign — an effort to warn music lovers about the dangers of listening too long and too loud to their iPods and MP3 players through ear buds,” as described by the author of this article about the campaign. The writer goes on to say, “Bloomberg sometimes puts people off with his intrusive do-gooding — limiting the legal size of a sugary drink to 16 ounces, for instance — but, the fact is, we live in a noisy culture, and it appears that few single things contribute more to gradual, irreversible hearing loss among the young than loud music piped directly into their ear canals for extended periods.”

It’s fitting, then, that City Hall is where we went spent our International Noise Awareness Day in 2013. Here’s to another year’s work in helping people be aware of the harms of everyday noise — and the peace and wellness of healthy quiet.

A collection of social media quips on and about International Noise Awareness Day: