I was told not that long ago that my requiring a relative level of quiet inside my own home was being naively unrealistic, and even arrogant to expect my neighbors not to make any noise at all; and the person (my landlord) who said these incredibly insensitive comments had the luxury of normal hearing, but if you have hearing like I do which is made all the more sensitive by a recognized medical condition known as Hyperacusis with quite severe Phonophobia it is an essential state of affairs that I have quiet or I experience massive levels of anxiety whenever I am forced to endure unwanted noise from others. In my case there are triggers, these being shouting, door slamming, excessively loud television or stereo (or noise from nearby structures or passing vehicles), and loud bangs at any time of the day or night, but with emphasis on after dark when all I want to do is try and relax so I can get a good night's sleep. So for the most part I stay at home, in my apartment doing my best not to be anxious. Sadly it is necessary for me to go out from time to time and when I do its a real battle because I am suddenly surrounded on all sides by noise, noise from people, from the environment, from vehicles ... everyday noise that most of you probably don't even notice but I do and its crippling. It has had an incredible impact on my life. Growing up I never socialized, I never went to nightclubs or hung out with others simply because I could not tolerate the noise occurring all around me. Since at that time (in fact between 1967-2018) I had no idea at all that I even had these conditions or that I was very autistic so it was very hard to maintain relationships with normal people who wanted to go mingle with others, who wanted to go shopping or see a movie or do all of the things that you may take for granted. In an ever-increasingly noisy western world we are actually arrogantly told by others that we don't have the luxury of peace and quiet and that our needing it is an impossible dream. I disagree with this perspective and feel that forcing those who need peace to have to suffer noise should be made a hate crime just as it is a crime to degrade the quality of life of others with visible disabilities or who are different to what is considered normal within our societies. If anyone is interested in petitioning for a quieter environment or to actively form a movement, please contact me. I would do with some professional assistance in getting the powers that be to recognize that noise is as harmful as the recognized self-inflicted harm caused by nicotine and alcohol addiction and that people who suffer noise every day have rights - especially the right to quiet that is often denied us because callous individuals who should be serving the public trust often ignore it as a real problem.
Currently in Britain we have the phenomenon of sunny weather and as is so typical of the selfish bastards who seemingly dominate the area in which I live, they almost universally decide to open their windows and with the televisions, or more commonly their stereos, decide to inflict their noise on everyone within hearing distance. This is bad enough when you live nearby, or if the cretins in question are in what are commonly known as 'boom cars' but when you are immediately next door to the offending party it means you cannot open your own windows to let out the heat because it means having to listen to their noise (and often their nicotine or marijuana) pollution which also enters your home. Trying to get these bastards to listen to reason is a pointless task because frankly they just don't give a shit about anyone else and don't think their noise is loud enough to warrant what they see as an unwanted intrusion. In Britain at least its pointless calling the police as they don't want to know and happily ignore the fact that a environmental crime - noise pollution - is taking place.
Artwork and narration by Jonathan Bluestone (C) Copyright Bluestone 2019