Monday, April 16, 2012

Noise Nausea

Banging,  bellowing, blaring, blasting, booming, clamoring, clanging, clattering, crashing, erupting, exploding, jangling, ringing, roaring, shouting, squawking, wailing, noise.

The word noise apparently derives from Latin word nauseas, meaning disgust or discomfort. You’ll get no argument from me on that etymological explanation.

In my research for this post, I found a definition at for the adjective strident. In the study of linguistics it means “characterized acoustically by noise of relatively high intensity, as sibilants, labiodental and uvular fricatives, and most affricates”. Just when you thought you knew everything.

This past Friday landed on the 13th of the month which meant (cue ominous music) nothing really. At least here in the tiny hamlet of Minikin it quietly went by without a notice. The same can’t be said for the Southern Ontario town of Port Dover.

Thousands of bikers descend upon Port Dover each Friday 13th (weather permitting). I’ve always wondered whether or not they show up on extremely loud snowmobiles when that date falls on a winter month.

The bikers this year raised money to keep a women’s shelter open. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of bikers raising money for charities and special causes. They are terrific in that regard.

But just once, I’d like to see them raise money for the Motorcycle Muffler Awareness campaign.

I LOATHE Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Why do they have to be that danged loud? If my car was that noisy the cops would impound it and throw me in the calaboose faster than you can say presbycusis!

I’m sorry for being snarly
about the sound from your Harley
but that noise and such ear abuses
have led to my presbycusis.

People have been complaining lately about the noise that will be generated from proposed wind turbines. Have you ever actually heard a noise from a wind turbine? I haven’t. I imagine you would have to stand within 20 feet or so to hear a faint “whoosh”. Stand that close to a running Harley and you’ll be sorry that the evolutionary process produced ears.

If a Harley-Davidson owner ever moves next door to me, I’m going to buy an old Chrysler air raid siren. Each time that bike gets revved up, the rider is going to get a taste of some real noise — old-time civil defense era style.

An excerpt from a website about that siren states, “The Chrysler Air Raid Siren is so powerful that it can reportedly start fires with just the sound vibrations it produces. It can turn fog into rain...” Ooooh boy! Did you hear that Harley riders? Better buy some airport runway ear muffs (and a raincoat, and a fire suit while you’re at it).

Fricative motorcycles! As the great and powerful Oz said, "You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk".

You know, the more I think of it, the more I feel I should embrace loud noises. In an effort to immunize myself, I should visit Cape Canaveral at launch time. Then it’s off to downtown New York at lunch time (preferably near some road construction featuring a heavy-duty jackhammer). As well, I should visit the local drag strip (there’s a good one near Minikin) and put my ear right up to the exhaust of a top fuel dragster. Before long, the noise of motorcycles will be a non-issue for me.

A Wikipedia article about the health effects from noise says, “The mechanism of hearing loss arises from trauma to stereocilia of the cochlea...” I wanted to know more about stereocilia, so I clicked on the link for it and found this enlightening information:

Stereocilia (or stereovilli) are apical modifications of the cell, which are distinct from cilia and microvilli, but closely related to the latter. Though their name is more similar to cilia, they are actually more closely related to microvilli, and some sources consider them to be a variant of microvilli rather than their own distinct type of structure. It is a long projection of cell membrane, similar in structure to microvillus. They are characterized by their length (distinguishing them from microvilli) and their lack of motility (distinguishing them from cilia). They contain actin filaments.

What the hell is that? Talk about noise! All this silly cilia and villiness. That explanation is like looking up obfuscate in the dictionary and finding the definition “The act of obfuscating”.

Well, I'm getting a little off topic and besides, that's enough of my grumbling and griping for now. I see my poor wife is stuffing her ears with cotton batting in an effort to obtain relief from my noise.


This post begins the down-slope of the A to Z Challenge. Quietly now, can I hear a "yee-haww!"


  1. I enjoyed your post. I hate noise, too. P.S. As a speech pathologist, I know what sibilants, labiodentals and africates are. If you'll visit my blog, I'll give you the answer.

    1. Thanks Thelma.

      I've hissed at those f'ing jerks on their loud Harleys enough to get a rough idea what those words mean.

    2. That was a little harsh. I retract the "jerks" comment. The last thing I need is to piss off a biker gang.

  2. I've never been a fan of loud noises in general, but I must say, I LOVE the throbbing sound of a Harley or hot rod. Good thing, too. My hubby used to have a Harley, and now has several totally cool project cars with mighty engines. (It does help a bit, though, that I have a bit of a hearing loss, too ...)

    1. Even I'll admit that under the right circumstances, I love the sound of engines — at stock car or drag races. But I do wish that the average everyday-use internal-combustion-engine-on-two-wheels would tone it down just a tad.

  3. That's a coincidence. My topic today is also noise - but not the Harley kind of noise. The life kind of noise. I enjoyed your reminder that we are now over the half-way hump in this wonderful challenge (I am beginning to see why it is called a challenge.) Block you ears because I am going to shout it - YEE-HAWW!! :)

    1. There's all manner of noise in this crazy world.

      I think I'll take a break after this challenge is over.

      I'm on my way to check out your blog.

  4. LOL! I really enjoyed this post, and it was full of really good points, too. I agree with you on the Harleys, I don't know how the riders can handle it, really.
    We just moved to the country from Halifax where we lived right beside the railroad tracks. That is a loud horn there, and there's plenty of vibration, too. I don't really miss that. ;)

    1. Thanks Janyce. I think the loud engines have immunized Harley riders to noise in much the same way as the method I proposed.