A riddle: What comes with an airplane and goes with an airplane, is of no use to the airplane and yet the airplane can not fly without it?

Answer: A noise.

Noise is an inescapable part of human life. While we may enjoy occasional moments of solitude, it is usually not long before we are confronted with noise of some sort. While some of this noise is ignored or "gotten used to," it is becoming increasingly more difficult to do so as our convenience-oriented American society races around in its singly-occupied cars, shuttles off to business meetings in gigantic jumbo jets, and commutes to our noisy offices in even noisier subway cars. And when we arrive home at the end of the day we turn to our stereo systems and television sets to blast the day's worries out of our heads, seeking solace in the likes of Matchbox 20 who also claim to have had a "Long Day." Or maybe we burn off steam by walking or jogging, but we do so while wedging our heads between headphones whose shrieking guitars or thumping bass help us to keep in stride. At any rate, we are a noisy society, and to some extent we don't seem to mind it. Though researchers were investigating the dangers of noise pollution as early as the 1960's (e.g. McKennell, 1963), we still continue to largely ignore the damage we are causing ourselves, at least until it's time to go out and buy a hearing aid. And by then the damage is usually irreversible.

This section of our Audition and Music website and its constituent subsections are intended primarily to raise awareness of the dangers of noise pollution by describing the sources of noise that we commonly face and by elucidating the effects that this noise commonly has on us. Relevant links and references are also included.

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