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THE increasing level of noise to which the general public is exposed has been a matter of growing concern. This encroachment on the public sensibilities has been so gradual and widespread that little opportunity has presented itself for the large-scale practice of preventive medicine in this field. If present plans with respect to the proposed supersonic transport plane (SST) are carried out, the public will be exposed to a quantum increase in the level of unwanted noise and irritation. If placed into regular passenger service, these planes can inflict those living near airports with noise much louder and more widely spread than that associated with conventional jets. Potentially much worse, however, is their sonic boom, to which everyone under their flight paths will be exposed.
The sonic boom is a momentary, startling pressure disturbance, produced whenever an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, and it reaches the ground
ROTH JR. Living on the Firing Line. Arch Otolaryngol. 1967;86(3):243–244. doi:10.1001/archotol.1967.00760050245001