Many people move to the suburbs looking for peace and quiet. Unfortunately, over the past few decades suburbs have become increasingly noisy places to live. Much of this noise comes from yard equipment.
Noise is not often discussed as a health issue. However, it is known that noisy conditions cause stress. Human beings are very resilient, and adapt to most kinds of stressful conditions. However, evidence suggests that people do not adapt to noise: they continue to be stressed by it until the noise stops. Stress from any cause is a risk factor for heart attacks.
How loud is yard equipment? A gas-powered push mower can exceed 100 decibels – loud enough to cause hearing damage over time. And the noise carries: a person mowing a quarter-acre lawn can be heard across 100 acres of neighborhood.
Replacing motorized mowers and blowers with unmotorized equipment would help to restore the quiet neighborhoods suburbanites are looking for. Replacing lawns with native plants would go one step further, offering us the musical chirping of birds instead of the roar of machines.