2014-08-28 / Opinion

Time to Rein It In

To the Editor:

Paul O’Reilly’s reported statement that “an 85 decibel limit is still low” (NTW Aug. 21 issue) is disingenuous at best and thoroughly misleading at worst. In simple terms, an increase from the permitted 75dB to 85dB is not a 13% increase in sound as might be assumed from a brief examination of the numbers. The decibel scale used to measure sound pressure is a logarithmic scale which is not a straight line comparison. A more practical way to look at this is to look at the power required by a system to increase from 75dB to 85dB. The answer is 3.16 times more power. Or 316%. Not the 13% suggested by looking at 75db to 85db as a linear measurement.

However, much more important is the human PERCEPTION of sound (psycho acoustic loudness). Simply put and you will find any number of studies and sources from reputable institutions will support the following statement. “An increase in 10 dB represents a perceived DOUBLING of the sound heard by the human ear”. So a request for a 10 dB increase in noise level is in fact a request to double the sound people will be asked to put up with.

At least Paul O’Reilly recognizes that the community should have a say in the matter. From this address on the amphitheater on the hill – the increased number of concerts have gone from being a minor and occasional annoyance to a continuous quality of life destroyer. For those on the actual wharves – many of whom were there long before the Yachting Center started to have concerts – I imagine it is unbearable. Time to rein it in.

Graeme J.W.Smith Division Street, Newport

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