Noise Pollution

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Lighthouse & foghornsIs it me, or has the noise level in our environment risen sharply? To my mind, noise has reached pollution levels, like being enveloped in a constant foghorn. I can’t seem to walk into any establishment these days where I’m not hit broadside by the noise level inside.

To add to what might be a normal degree in a building filled with humans, the proprietors of many locations seem to feel that adding to the racket will help their business. So, they pipe in music which just increases the pollution. Then, to add insult to injury, they ramp up said chords to ridiculous decibels.

This first just occurred in restaurants and bars. Today when you frequent them, screaming to your tablemates just to be able to hear each other is now the norm.

This ambiance has segued to places like food markets, clothing stores, and other commercial businesses open to the public. I don’t know about most folks, but when I enter such a place, I’ll usually do a U-turn and exit from whence I came.

I’ve been known to ask employees to turn down the music. My request usually goes something like: “The music is too loud.  My first choice would be for you to turn it off;  my second choice to turn it down.”  This is usually met with strange stares and some form of resistance.  I’m sure that the owners regularly read their “Running a Successful (add any brick and mortar business category)” which tells them that piped in music helps bump up sales. But, putting your customers at the mercy of some radio station playing rap music turned up to assault their eardrums is not what it means, guys.

I don’t know if folks are aware that prolonged exposure to intense noise causes irreversible hearing damage. Those young store clerks and restaurant workers are being harmed permanently! Also, if one goal is to cater to Baby Boomers and seniors (and it should be as we form a huge demographic which spends lots of money), businesspeople ought to be aware that there are more hearing issues and hearing aid use among us, and that the hearing challenged are quite sensitive to intense noise.

We need more quiet in our lives. So, in line with my philosophy that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself, carry earplugs or earmuffs with you at all times and use them when you are overwhelmed by the ambient clatter.  Picture an influx of seniors in earmuffs.  That should send the message.


Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: Citizen 4474 on Visual hunt / CC BY


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Noise Pollution

  1. Isabel Leonard

    I have been complaining about noise in restaurants for years. It’s not just elders; young people are starting to find it an impediment to conversation. Part of the problem is that it became trendy for restaurants to have a stark, clean look. Padded walls and acoustic panels have gone the way of spider plants. I ALWAYS ask politely for the music to be turned down. If it isn’t, I walk out.

  2. I’ve been to SF Giants baseball games where the noise level in between innings is atrocious. Wherever there happens to be noise in restaurants, coffee houses, clothes shops, etc., management’s thinking is, keep the people entertained.

Leave a Reply to Isabel Leonard Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.