Interesting perspective on dog noise pollution: Facebook page People Against Dog Breeding and Noise.
From the archives: (copied without permission)
"I feel the need to keep re-posting this so it does go too far down
this page. It is, after all the main reason I started this page. Can't
find a quiet place to live, in any suburban neighborhood.
Why Exposure to Chronic Barking is So Profoundly Debilitating
People who have never suffered through extensive exposure to chronic
barking often find it difficult to understand why it should be such an
incredibly upsetting, debilitating ordeal. This section tells you why
that is, beginning with a discussion of how our bodies react to exposure
to chronic noise.
The Physiology of the Upset Victim
various organs of your body are connected in a way you may not have
thought of before. Your eyes, heart, lungs, digestive system, and the
smooth muscles of your vascular system (among other organs) are all
connected to your brain by nerve cells, which are also called neurons.
Picture the way telephone lines run across the country connecting one
city to another. The telephone line running from Los Angeles to San
Francisco is not one continuous wire. It is many wires, each connected
to the next. When an electronic signal goes from one city to another
over the phone line, it travels in relay fashion from wire to wire until
it reaches its destination. These particular types of neurons are like
that. They carry electrical impulses from the brain in relay fashion,
only instead of running from city to city, they run from the brain to
the other organs of the body.
Because the brain is wired up to
these particular organs through the same relay system of neurons, it can
simultaneously create changes in all the connected organs at once by
sending electrical impulses traveling along the neural pathway.
If your brain sends electrical impulses along the neural pathway telling
the connected organs to speed up, the pupils of your eyes will open
wider. Your heart will begin beating faster and your breathing will
increase as your lungs begin to work harder. Also, the smooth muscles of
your vascular system will react in a way that reduces the blood flow to
your hands and feet and channels more blood deep into your body to the
major organs. The one exception is your digestive system. When the
speed-up message is sent, everything speeds up except your digestion,
which slows down. The more things speed up, the greater the sense of
tension we feel. When you feel emotionally upset in an excited, high
energy sort of way, you are in a state of autonomic speed up.
your brain sends electrical impulses along the neural pathway telling
the connected organs to slow down, your pupils return to normal size and
your heart rate and breathing slow. At the same time, the smooth
muscles of your vascular system channel more blood into your hands and
feet and less to the major organs. As you might expect, when the
slow-down message is sent, your digestive system reacts by speeding up.
That's why digestion is a more pleasant process when you're relaxed than
when you're tense.
The more things slow down, the more relaxed we are likely to feel.
The Autonomic Nervous System & the Endocrine System
The organs of the body that are beyond our conscious control, like
those listed above, together with the nerve cells that connect them, are
known as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
Notice that when
you hear the sharp report of a barking dog, it gives you a start.
Physically you feel yourself give a little jump and you experience a
sudden sense of tension. That feeling is the autonomic nervous system
speeding up the inner workings of your body. As the barking continues
on, the neurons continue firing and you become increasingly tense.
When a dog barks, he creates sound waves. Sound waves are real physical
entities that have a real physical effect on our bodies. We can't see
them, but they are there and they carry the output of the barking dog to
the sensory hair cells of our ears, which then carry the report of the
sound into our brains. The brain, in turn, stimulates the ANS, which
makes us feel tense.
Hormones are chemicals manufactured within
our bodies. Under certain conditions, those hormones are released into
our blood streams by our body's various glands. Different hormones do
different things. They regulate our growth, our metabolism, our sexual
desires and our sense of well being and distress. While the ANS makes us
feel tense, it is the endocrine system that makes us feel anxious when
we are in close proximity to a barking dog. That's not surprising
really. The hormonal (endocrine) system is regulated by a primitive part
of the human brain that seems to respond instantly to the primitive
threats and messages of desperation that are implicit in the voice of a
chronically barking dog. That's part of why barking drives people wild.
To really appreciate the impact that chronic barking has on your
autonomic and endocrine systems and, thus, your emotional state, you
must also factor-in the length of time required for our bodies to return
to normal after an acoustic shock like that which we receive when a
nearby dog releases a loud, sudden, percussive burst of barking. If it
happens only once, you may return to normal in a matter of seconds.
However, with each additional episode of barking, your systems fire-up
more quickly, and it takes a little longer to return to baseline. If it
happens frequently enough, you will still be wound-up from the last
outburst when the next one hits, with the result that you will be
forever tense, and at no point will you ever be able to become truly
relaxed in your own home.
Some people have an autonomic nervous
system that works like greased lightening, while others have a
relatively sluggish function of the ANS. The more readily your ANS fires
up, the faster your endocrine system will kick in, and the longer it
will take your body to return to a relaxed state after you are exposed
to a flurry of barking."
I'm not sure if the above is 100% scientifically accurate, so take it with a grain of salt. With that said, the World Health organization and USA EPA have long recognized that percussive, loud noises such as dog barking pose a real human health hazard.
QUIET YOUR DOGS.