11/20/2010 12:07 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Noise Pollution: Sound Off (Quietly)

As I write this column, it's 5:00am. It's the ideal time of day for those of us who love big-city living -- but just can't stand the noise that comes with it. This morning, our street is even quieter than usual. The cold weather has arrived, and everyone is huddled around hot cups of coffee, or snug in their beds.

The night before last, I slept in a hotel room beside an airport (I was in another city, giving a speech about my new book). For a couple of hours, the sound of jets screaming in and out of this busy hub kept me awake. But eventually I tuned them out.

It's been harder to tune out the coverage of the very noisy Sun Chips packaging. In case you missed it, Sun Chips decided to offer its delicious product in biodegradable packaging. Fantastic idea, but one hitch: these new bags are incredibly loud. Here's my favourite YouTube video (in my view, this doesn't quite capture the racket -- it's much better if you experience it first hand; luckily, the chips are a reward).

And here's their video, which answers the question, "What were they thinking?"

I know I'm not the only one who's curmudgeonly about noise (and there's good science to back up dissenters like us!). So, do tell. What's your favourite "Can you believe how loud people are!?!" story? What's on your top 10 list of noisy inventions (car alarms, vacuum cleaners, jackhammers)? When have you raised the noise level a few decibels yourself? And what's the best way to tell people -- whether neighbours or strangers -- to keep it down? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

Julia Moulden is an author, speaker, and columnist. Read her HuffPost archive, including more about the New Radicals and the first columns about "RIPE."

More on my new book, Ripe: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50 coming soon. I'm building the Ripe community, too. Contact me via my website to ensure you're part of what's coming in January.

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