“Would you rather live near a stadium that is brightly lit all night or a loud highway?”
This was one of the questions that was asked in the discussion section after the urban noise pollution section. We discussed some of the other questions from the discussion last week, but sadly this was not one of them. Hence I thought that I would make use of this blog space to share some of my thoughts and views!
A little context:
My current home is where I’ve been living in all my life. I live on the 17th floor, and this is what the view is like from my balcony:
From the picture it seems pretty obvious that my house overlooks a loud highway. This highway is the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) that spans from the east all the way to the west of Singapore. In fact, it is also the oldest (built 1966) and longest (42.8km) long.
As I have been living in this home all my life, and sleep with the windows opened (We very rarely use air-conditioning, hence windows are kept open), I have already gotten used to this level of noise pollution. I am able to fall asleep normally as well as concentrate when doing my work with the noise without the help of any sound-cancelling equipment or blasting music.
In fact, I have gotten so used to the noise that I am not able to study in a quiet library because I just cannot concentrate! I also have trouble falling asleep when it is too quiet, like in a hotel room in a foreign country. My parents installed the sound-proof windows about 15 years ago, and when we do close the windows at night with the air-conditioning turned on, I have trouble falling asleep too.
To kind of give you a sense of what it sounds like, I recorded a short 15 second clip:
So here you will hear what it sounds like with my room door closed and soundproof windows closed at first, before I proceed to open the windows. This is 11.22pm at night! As far as I my memories go, there was not once that there wasn’t any cars on the road. It is busy everyday, and even in the late hours there will be cars. It never crossed my mind to ask my parents whether did they consider the noise when they bought this house, but I definitely know that one reason they chose this place is because it is just 5 minutes away from my grandparent’s place!
I was playing with an app, Soundmeter Pro, on my android phone yesterday and decided that I shall do a little test!
I decided to measure the sound from my bedroom with the soundproof windows open and closed.
The soundproof windows managed to reduce the sound from 67dB (Normal traffic noise levels) to 49dB (Moderate rainfall noise level) and now I know 67dB is my comfort zone! I wonder if I really have gotten used to it or if my body have been affected/will be affected in other physiological ways that I am not able to tell.
So now back to the question of “Would you rather live near a stadium that is brightly lit all night or a loud highway?”, I think the most practical answer by most people would be the brightly lit stadium because it would be easier and cheaper to get curtains to block the light as opposed to soundproof windows. But as for me, I would choose the loud highway any day (not taking into the considerations of how much dusts as well as air pollutants that I have been breathing in all my life).