What's bugging you? SoCal noise

ABC7 Eyewitness News: What's Bugging You?
LOS ANGELES It can be aggravating: noise, noise, noise. Everywhere there is noise. Living in Southern California, you just can't get away from it.

"All around the noise is really bad," said Susan Rocha.

Susan Rocha sent Eyewitness News an e-mail saying there is too much noise in her neighborhood and just about everywhere else.

She's especially upset about recorded church bells that ring from loudspeakers about a block away from her home. Rocha says they ring several times a day starting just before 8 a.m.

"It makes people more nervous, more edgy," said Rocha. "It affects their everyday life."

Local ordinances say certain noise levels are inevitable in a city. Only unnecessary and excessive noise is subject to regulation. That certainly leaves a lot of leeway.

Average traffic noise is about 70 to 80 decibels, and experts say our cities are getting louder, about a decibel louder each decade. It can affect our health. Prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.

"It can cause anxiety disorders because you just can't find that peace and quiet," said acoustics researcher David Lubman. "Some of the laws against noise are really because of health effects."

Lubman says existing noise ordinances need to be enforced. Residents need to complain about it and not accept noise as inevitable.

"They can demand quiet neighborhoods," said Lubman. "They can demand quiet homes. They can demand quiet appliances and schools."

Gordon Gregos lives right under the flight path at Burbank Airport. He says after seven years it almost doesn't bother him.

"You get used to it. It's not great. I would love to live in a nice quiet town or out in the country somewhere, but this is where I'm kind of stuck. This is where my job is," said Gregos.

Living with noise is something we can't get away from if we live in Southern California. But experts say it's definitely good for your health to get away from it once in a while.

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