If you’ve ever visited a busy city, you know there is a lot to enjoy. From incredible restaurants, unmatched nightlife, museums, shopping, and so much more. With all of the positives to look forward to, one of the biggest challenges to city life may come as a surprise when you arrive: the noise. For those that live in cities like New York, however, noise is just a necessary trade-off to the convenience and energy that comes with city living. Aside from construction, honking cars, and constant chatter of millions of people, one of the most infamous sounds associated with New York is the sound of New York police sirens and ambulance sirens.
Noise Pollution in New York
When noise levels in a particular area become so high they are disruptful and even harmful to humans, it is referred to as noise pollution. For years, the noise levels in New York have continued to increase, leading many to complain of noise pollution and the need for a remedy to the situation. Among the most frequent complaints associated with noise pollution are siren NYC sounds blaring from police cars and ambulances.
But what can actually be done about noise pollution? For one, New York city has instituted a number of noise ordinances to keep levels under control, especially around certain times of the day. The New York City noise code ensures that residents are protected as much as possible from construction sounds, sounds coming from bars and restaurants, motor vehicles, and more. When individuals determine noise has gotten out of control, they can make a formal complaint.
Over time, exposure to noise pollution can have a negative impact on health. In fact, it has been linked to issues including stress, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, hearing loss, and more.
How Loud are Police and Ambulance Sirens?
The sound of a passing police, ambulance, or New York fire engine siren can be startling and, frankly, quite annoying. And in a city with so many people, emergencies happen on a regular basis. If you’re wondering just how loud New York sirens from emergency vehicles are, the answer is around 120 decibels. While the volume ensures other cars on the road have enough time to get out of the way, this level can actually cause damage to hearing over time. To give you an idea of just how loud 120 decibels is for police car siren noise and ambulance siren noise, a normal conversation is rated at about 65 decibels, and the sound at a rock concert is about 110 decibels.
Implementing New NYC Sirens
While police and ambulance sirens are inarguably necessary, their prevalence can undoubtedly have a negative impact on the city. For one, areas where noise constantly rates at 65 decibels or higher have seen a drop in property value. Similarly, homes and apartment buildings near highways or other busy roadways have dropped in value over time as well.
In an attempt to help remedy the issue of harmful noise in the city, new ambulance police sirens in New York are being tested. The traditional NYC police siren, referred to as wailing sirens, are particularly shrill, and can be invasive to spaces beyond the road like homes and offices. The new sirens, called two-tone sirens, alternate between a high and low tone, offering a more melodic sound that is gentler on the ears. This type of siren, already used across Europe, is actually just a loud as wailing sirens, but much less intrusive. Not only is the two tone more comfortable for hearing, many believe it does a better job at getting the attention of those on the road because of its unique sound.