NOISE/NOTES (Jun 2020)

By Eoin A. King, NNI Editor

NNI is on Facebook and Twitter. We try to keep our readers informed with noise news from all across the globe by highlighting interesting research and projects. Here is a roundup of some of the stories that have been making headlines. Follow @NNIEditor to stay up to date with all noise-related news!

Special Issues on Acoustic Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging effects on all aspects of life, including strong effects on the acoustic environment. A wide array of articles describing these effects have been published in the popular media, and some are summarized in this NOISE/NOTES feature. However, some archival journals are also seeking to publish peer-reviewed publications on the acoustic impacts of the pandemic. The Journal of Acoustical Society of America has issued a call for papers for an upcoming special issue on “COVID-19 Pandemic Acoustic Effects.” Further, the open access journal Noise Mapping, from De Gruyter, has also issued a call for papers for a special issue on “The Noise Climate at the Time of SARS-CoV-2 Virus/COVID-19 Disease.”

Listen to the Lockdown
A recent New York Times article compared noise levels before and after lockdown in New York City, featuring measurements and audio recordings from the Sounds of New York City Project (SONYC). SONYC is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at New York University and Ohio State University and includes a distributed network of both sensors and people for large-scale noise monitoring.

Lockdown Reduces Ocean Noise
The Guardian reports that in cities, human lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic have offered some respite to the natural world, with clear skies, the return of wildlife to waterways, and a drop in underwater noise pollution, which, experts say, is good news for whales and other sea mammals.

Animals Free to Roam
In keeping with a wildlife theme, another article for the Guardian reports how empty streets and skies let the birds be heard and leave animals free to roam as well as allow scientists to examine how humans change urban biodiversity.

Tips on Reducing Background Noise
The instructions to shelter in place, stay at home, and work remotely where possible have seen a big increase in people relying on teleconferencing tools. Battling siblings, barking dogs, and other noisy things can impact these virtual meetings. INCE-USA recently offered some simple tips on how to reduce background noise in the home.

In Conversation with the NNI Editor
For International Noise Awareness Day 2020, NNI editor Eoin King sat down to have a conversation with the folks at Sonitus Systems Ltd. and discuss all things noise related.

Sound Absorption of the Conifer Tree
The BBC reported on a recent study that tested the sound absorption of 13 different species of trees. The study found that larch was the most effective species, while conifers acted more effectively than broadleaved trees when it came to absorbing sound. It suggests that, besides emphasizing the effects of vision and shade, urban greening could also be considered to achieve noise reduction in cities.

Tips to Control Background Noise in Video Meetings
INCE-USA president Mike Bahtiarian offers six simple tips to control background noise in video meetings. They range from your choice of room to the consideration of the position of the nearest fan or air conditioner to using a headset.