Noise - Encyclopedia




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NOISE (a word of doubtful origin; O. Fr. nogse or nose; Prov. nausa, which points to Lat. nausea, sickness, as the origin; others take Lat. noxia, harm, as the source), an excessive, offensive, persistent or startling sound. By the common law of England freedom from noise is essential to the full enjoyment of a dwelling house, and acts which affect that enjoyment may be actionable as nuisances. But it has been laid down that a nuisance by noise, supposing malice to be out of the question, is emphatically a question of degree (Gaunt v. Finney, 1872, 8 Ch. Ap. 8). The noise must be exceptional and unreasonable. The ringing of bells, building operations, vibration of machinery, fireworks, bands, a circus, merry-go-rounds, collecting disorderly crowds, dancing, singing, &c., have been held under certain circumstances to constitute nuisances so as to interfere with quiet and comfort, and have been restrained by injunction. Noise occasioned by the frequent repetition of street cries is frequently the subject of local by-laws, which impose penalties for infringement.

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