Allahu Mickbar! When I make the claim that "our neighborhoods sound like kennels", that is no minor claim. A neighborhood that sounds like a kennel is a BIG problem. Oh, and those kennel noises are primarily related to squeaky hamster wheels (/sarc).
Anyways, how to answer the Barking Question? Now, NOBODY gives a crap about the effects of dog noise on people, so that angle is a dead end. Who cares if you can't sleep in your own house? Remember, the dog owner next door gets to set the noise level in your home, NOT you! Praise Dog!
Moving along, the above does not mean that nothing can be done. Has anyone considered the effect of dog noise on OTHER DOGS? See, nobody cared about dog attacks UNTIL pit bulls started attacking other dogs, so NOW that problem gets some attention.
If you can prove that dog noise is toxic to DOGS, that is an angle that may gain some traction.
Consider this excellent article containing an analysis of the effects of dog noise in kennels. Note that only the effects on other dogs is considered, as no one cares about the effects of noxious barking on ANY other species.
Some excerpts with a few comments of mine added in for emphasis.
Sound levels in animal shelters regularly exceed 100 dB. Noise is a
physical stressor on animals that can lead to behavioral, physiological,
and anatomical responses. [try not to forget about us 2 legged animals... we are "people" too!] There are currently no policies regulating
noise levels in dog kennels [of course not, who are WE to quiet the Voice of Dog?]. The objective of this study was to evaluate
the noise levels dogs [the hell with the other animals] are exposed to in an animal shelter on a
continuous basis and to determine the need, if any, for noise
regulations [how about a sensible noise regulation OUTSIDE the kennel?]. Noise levels at a newly constructed animal shelter were
measured using a noise dosimeter in all indoor dog-holding areas. These
holding areas included large dog adoptable, large dog stray, small dog
adoptable, small dog stray, and front intake. The noise level was
highest in the large adoptable area. Sound from the large adoptable area
affected some of the noise measurements for the other rooms. Peak noise
levels regularly exceeded the measuring capability of the dosimeter
(118.9 dBA). [well, I'll be dipped in sh!t] Often, in new facility design, there is little attention
paid to noise abatement, [obviously, because the noise level has everything to do with the building and NOTHING to do with the dogs] despite the evidence that noise causes physical
and psychological stress on dogs [pay dirt!]. To meet their behavioral and physical
needs, kennel design should also address optimal sound range.
Noise in an animal shelter has previously been discussed (Key, 2000;
Milligan, Sales,& Khirnykh, 1993; Sales, Hubrecht, Peyvandi,
Milligan, & Shield, 1997). Sales et al. reported that sound levels
regularly exceeded 100 dB. Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and the
scale is logarithmic, meaning that 90 dB is 10 times the intensity of 80
dB and is 100 times the intensity of 70 dB. A noise level over 70 dB(A)
is considered "loud" (Baker, 1998). To put this into context, 95 dB(A)
is comparable to a subway train, 110 dB(A) is a jackhammer, and 120
dB(A) is a propeller aircraft; any sound in the 90 to 120 dB(A) range is
considered to be in the critical zone and can be felt as well as heard
(Key, 2000). No single method or process exists for measuring
occupational noise. A noise dosimeter is preferred for measuring noise
levels when the noise levels are varying or intermittent and when they
contain impulsive components such as barking. One consideration when
using a noise dosimeter is that the microphone is within the hearing
zone of individuals being monitored.
It has long been documented that audible sound has profound
physiological and psychological effects on nonhuman animals and disturbs
the healthy equilibrium of the body (Wei, 1969). Noise has been found
to be a physical stressor on animals that can lead to behavioral,
physiological, and anatomical responses. Noise-induced cortisol
increases can cause immunosuppression, insulin resistance,
cardiovascular diseases, catabolism (molecular decomposition), and
intestinal problems (Spreng, 2000). [Indeed, but lets just keep the barkathon going, shall we?] The hearing of animals differs from
that of humans; dogs (Canis familiaris) have much better hearing and can
hear sounds up to four times quieter than can the human ear. Recent
research shows that noise in dog kennels may be a welfare concern for
the animals (Sales et al., 1997), but currently no policies regulate
noise levels in dog kennels. [Again, HOW ABOUT THE NOISE LEVEL EVERYWHERE ELSE?]
The objective of this observational case study was to evaluate the
levels of noise to which dogs are exposed on a continuous basis and to
determine the need for noise regulations. Regulations may emphasize the
necessity to control levels through building design and materials
instead of trying to reduce the noise produced by the animals. The
facility where this study was conducted was designed and built in the
last 7 years. However, as is often typical, there were no obvious
preventative measures in the design to reduce noise and, in fact, design
may have had the opposite effect due to animal arrangement, the use of
concrete block, and exposed metal roofing.
So, in closing, the best way to counter the barking scourge is to present evidence that barking is bad FOR DOGS and that should solve the problem.