Is Puerto Rico loud or is it just me?

I have sensitive ears. I get them from my Mom. My sisters complained that as kids if they wanted to share something secretly they’d have to walk down the block so she wouldn’t hear.

Even now, I can’t sleep with the windows open because all those damn roosters wake me up – I think they are a kid calling out for me.

I even complained to an employee at the movie theatre because the previews were SUPER loud. Ok – even Trevor was covering his ears that time. They turned it down.

Me and a guy named Jose are the only two people in Zumba and kickboxing that wear earplugs. I tried salsa dancing at Pik Akí without earplugs and think I did permanent damage. So … I decided to investigate my world around me.

I downloaded the free app Decible X and began taking measurements. Everywhere.

At at red light I asked my kids to make the loudest noise they could. Jeez girl!Honestly the inodoros at my gym hurt my ears when I flush. So I took that measurement. The ambient workout music by the machines… this didn’t seem too loud to my ears.

So insert earplugs because here comes kickboxing! Some days it’s louder than others. This day I didn’t think it was too bad, but I bet sometimes it gets close to 90 decibels. Without earplugs my ears would ring after this class. Are José and I the only ones worried about our hearing? Or does he have sensitive ears like me?

Continuously curious, I took some readings around my house. The Okey Dokey brothers were playing on Alexa at volume 10 while I made polenta. I actually had her at about volume 8 but turned it full blast for the reading.

Our giant A/C unit in the sala is pretty loud. We usually turn it off to watch TV.

My Hubster studied electrical engineering and sound canceling. He says for a proper reading of the lower ranges of sound I’d need one of these fuzzy phallic microphones. Oh well.

I took a 2 minute reading in Zumba class on Tuesday. The peak was 102! With the average 89. So what does this mean for my little oídos ??

Uncomfortable feeling starts at 115 my ass. It seemed from my observations that decible level of 80 is my top comfort point for a sustained amount of time, so it surprised me to read that I could listen to level 90 for 8 hours a day. Holy crap! No thanks!

Miracle Ear is much more conservative with their numbers and judging from my own lil ears I’m more apt to use their guidelines. 15 min of level 100. Roger that.

So….where does that leave salsa dancing?? I had to wait until Tuesday night to learn:

It was already loud where I parked. Then I stood where I normally do up front by the band.

This reading seemed way too low. So instead of using the camera feature I went back to the part of the app with the little reader and took a screen shot.

Holy bleeding ears Batman! This was the highest number I metered. Miracle Ear said only 15 minutes of exposure over 100. This band plays for a couple hours. Whoa. So glad I’m the only dorky one wearing earplugs.

Which no one has ever mentioned or stared at. I’m sure they notice. But no one ever says anything. Not that I’m worried, I really don’t care about coolness with my ears.

So there.

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6 Responses to Is Puerto Rico loud or is it just me?

  1. adolfojp says:

    It is definitely way too loud.

    At some restaurants it’s difficult to have a conversation without yelling. Many music venues mix everything wrong, overemphasizing volume and bass to the point that it drowns everything else. Bars, night clubs, and even gyms are a nuisance to their neighbors, even to those who live a couple of blocks away. Movie theaters promote new and improved audio technologies when in reality they’re just making the volume louder. Good luck getting into your quiet movie when you can hear the explosions from the movies that are playing to your right and to your left. And then there’s the speaker trucks and cars and boats, the impromptu and yet constant beach, parking lot and gas station parties and parades, and the loud neighbors. At this point I just assume that every musician, DJ, and sound engineer is deaf which would explain the kind of music that is getting put out there these days.

    The sad thing is that even though Puerto Rico was always loud the problem has gotten progressively worse in the last decade and it shows no signs of stopping. And I am not saying this because I’m old. Ten years ago I was already an adult. I just can’t see myself ever buying property in Puerto Rico because the odds of seeing the neighborhood get destroyed by inconsiderate people are way too high. And the cops and the politicians just don’t care.

    • Laura says:

      I have started to think the hearing loss levels are epic here too. Even my kids ask why those speaker trucks aren’t against the law

      • Logan49X says:

        Exactly, as a Puerto Rican from Jersey, who’s been living on the island for 10 years, I say the same thing to my father all the time. Not only should they ban those speaker trucks, they should ban the police, and Firetruck sirens on Jeeps. As well as putting up a noise pollution law on the highways after 7pm.

  2. ivianldm says:

    I think the exact same! Puerto Rico is loud. I am running an investigation on this particular issue because it is also known in the World Health Organization that acoustic contamination is the second cause of health conditions, the most common: deafness. I would like to know more about your opinion in this topic. Can you contact me?

  3. Deborah M says:

    Living in Puerto Rico, I sincerely understand why anyone in a physical body & sensitive to noises here would deliberately make their ears go completely deaf.

    Many people here take sleeping pills, instead of standing up for and defending healthy quiet. Many also put up with this shit in others ways. They turn up the TV volume, turn on their dryers, air conditioners, and turn up the volume on their music at home which disturbs other neighbors. I know of a neighbor that keeps little frogs in a cage outside his bedroom window. The frogs chirp loud at night and distract his hearing away from loud bar music.

    When I hear the untrue excuse, “We are Puerto Rican! We are loud and proud! Being noisy is our culture,” I speak the truth. Being noisy is not something to be of proud of. It is abusive. Being proud of being noisy is like believing it is okay to be hurt and to hurt others. It is like saying, “I am proud to be abusive!” And many Puerto Ricans here do NOT welcome this behavior.

    Us who are quiet are treated like 2nd class citizens when we simply ask for the courtesy of quiet. We are ignored and are gaslighted. Sometimes we are revenged on. And it is hypocritical of any noisy Puerto Rican to behave like those they hate – like those “Americanos” and “Spainards” who took over the land, dominate and destroy. This is precisely what noisy Puerto Ricans are doing themselves – taking over entire neighborhoods, dominating the air waves with unwelcome noise and destroying medically necessary quiet.

  4. Judie says:

    I just came back from Rincon. OMG 6 a.m. cars driving by with this loud music woke me every day? Sunday, seriously, at a 4 way stop there are trunks open at all 4 stops blaring music? No respect for Sunday, elderly, babies sleeping, peaceful folks enjoying the ocean, church folk quietly in prayer, hospice enjoying their last day, I was told it is a “cultural thing. Again, I don’t get it. Some/most folks don’t want to hear this! Where is the respect for them? Seems so very selfish to me.

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