Re: overnight shift and noise
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2021 10:41:44 -0700 (PDT)
> On Oct 30, 2021, at 1:02 PM, BETSY ALGIRE <betsy1945 [at]> wrote:
> Before I retired, I worked the night shift at a local hospital. I had a sound 
> machine in my bedroom that blocked out any noise including a lawn mower right 
> outside my window. To me, it was unrealistic to expect life to come to a halt 
> just because I needed to sleep. Earplugs also can be a help if the sound 
> machine doesn't do the trick.

Sleeping is not the only reason to keep your noise to yourself and respect 
other people’s privacy. It's important for everyone to understand that noise 
pollution affects not only emotional health but physical health. It affects 
children’s ability to learn to be attentive. As with freedom of speech, the 
freedom to make noise stops at the freedom not to hear it. 

There is a lot of literature now on the effects of loud and constant noise. It 
used to be hard to play music for hours — it took a lot of breath and physical 
dexterity — it was physical work. Now it only takes electricity. And everything 
is mechanized — remember how people used to cut down trees and sweep up leaves. 

All the press about people being allowed to purchase hearing aids over the 
counter without a doctor’s prescription is not just heralding new technologies. 
It is about the huge number of people who are becoming hearing impaired at 
earlier and earlier ages. It’s a huge business. And not just because of the 
baby boomer bubble. It’s because the market has expanded well beyond the age of 

It’s a great puzzle for cohousing to figure out how sound is amplified by walls 
and floors and how to contain it so everyone can relax. Sound protection is for 
the sake of physical health and sanity. 

Everyone forgets from time to time, but when someone is screaming on the green, 
they quiet down when reminded. Even if no one is asleep or it’s not after 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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