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Noise makes everyone a little crazy, but that crazy can turn deadly.

Noise keeps kids from learning — and even speaking. Noise makes us deaf, just as prolonged exposure to any sound at high enough volume will make us deaf.

Ask Pete Townsend and iPodders about the havoc loud sound wreaks on us — though to be fair, the Who have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest band on the planet. Won’t Get Fooled Again at 130 dB is right on the threshold of pain, which explains why pig squeals — also 130 dB (unplugged) — are so annoying. (The Who were never annoying — but they were loud.)

Sound can vaporize. Stand behind a jet engine (at 150+ dB one of the loudest sounds city-dwellers encounter daily), have someone push the engine to full throttle, and they will use a damp sponge to clean up what’s left of you.

Noise drives our stress levels ever higher. Loud noises pump adrenal hormone into the bloodstream so we’re alert and tense, and they increase our blood pressure. Our cholesterol levels change to deal with the adrenal shift — and it all leads to atherosclerosis. In short, noise hardens our arteries and increases our risk of heart attacks.

No animals are exempt from the horrors of noise. Other animals have the same responses that we do.

Maybe that’s why noise is analysed in feng shui.

Feng shui considers whether noise is excessive. Yes, feng shui was invented when people weren’t bombarded by the levels of machine noise we endure today, but even preindustrial conditions could generate noise levels that caused deafness and other problems.

How much does noise affect you?

It doesn’t cost much to find out. You may be surprised.

Not that familiar with acoustics? Pay a visit to Acoustics 101.

Take a look at this information from the US government regarding noise levels.

While we would all like to regularly experience the quiet of a concert hall or a rural nightscape to keep ourselves rested and healthy, most of us are not going to have that opportunity unless we make some big changes in how we live. You could move, but eventually more people will come to wherever you go — the problem starts over. If you like where you are but don’t like the constant stream of city noise (or noisy neighbors), then you must build an optimum environment around you.

Get information on the basics. Know what you can do to minimize noise.

These days you may need only a fresh coat of paint.

Buy acoustical paint, or purchase the acoustic deadening additive (for example, Acousti-Coat). No magic or McFengshui involved — this stuff works. The miracle of modern technology also works for insulation: paint the exterior with an insulating house paintthere are several brands — to increase your energy efficiency.

Don’t make things worse if you remodel.

Remodeling can actually increase the noise problem if you don’t design for noise reduction. Where you put walls, doors, and even electrical outlets can affect the noise levels. The same issues are magnified with windows.

How you build and how you insulate also makes a difference — for example, orienting structures properly can reduce street noise. Learn about your options for building quiet environments. Sometimes even simple solutions will help you realize a difference.

Oh, and did I mention this is good feng shui?

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