I enjoy summer. It conjures up backyard barbecues, laughing with friends and family, and playing backyard games like horseshoes and bocce ball.
But there comes a point when enjoying the summer infringes on the quality of life for others. Playing music too loud and using profane and vulgar language come to mind.
In the city of Gloversville, where I reside, there is legislation against using profane and vulgar language in public places. There are none in private spaces such as backyards.
Residents have a right to do or say anything in their own homes when it does not threaten public peace, but when it does, it causes the neighborhood's quality of life to decline.
The city's noise ordinance states it is unlawful for any person to make unreasonable noise within the city's boundaries, defining unreasonable noise as any noise that a reasonable person of normal sensitivities would not tolerate or causes a risk of public inconvenience or alarm.
According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, long-term amplified noise may affect a person's physical and mental health like breathing and sleeping problems. Unwanted sounds can lead to deafness, an elevated pulse rate and blood pressure, and may affect the learning ability of children.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a sound reaches 85 decibels or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to hearing. The amount of time listening to deafening noise is important too. The quieter the sound, the longer you can listen to it safely.
Acceptable noise can range from rainfall at 50 dB to a washing machine at 75 dB.
However, for every three decibels over 85 dB, the permissible exposure time before possible damage can occur is cut in half.
An individual can hear busy street traffic registered at 85 dB for only eight hours before permanent hearing loss occurs. Without proper hearing protection, a sound from a 12-gauge shotgun at 165 dB will cause a person to go deaf.
Communities must be able to limit noise to an acceptable level so all can enjoy summer.
So if music is playing too loudly in your neighbor's backyard, which can be amplified from 105 to 115 dB, politely ask them to turn it down.