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How a Town in Massachusetts is Trying to Solve Pickleball's Noise Problem

by Jason Flamm on

There's no denying it: pickleball is noisy.

It’s been reported constantly and even received its own segment on HBO's Real Sports in 2022. However, a suburban town in Massachusetts is now attempting to find a solution.

Braintree, Massachusetts, is gearing up for a noise reduction project costing nearly $19,000 to mitigate the impact of pickleball courts on residents.

According to this article from the local CBS affiliate, the popularity of pickleball in Braintree has skyrocketed from just 12 players to nearly 600 last season. This surge in players has led to overcrowding on the eight courts adjacent to Hollis Field, leaving neighbors frustrated by the constant noise disturbance.

Despite understanding pickleball's appeal, neighbors seek relief from the incessant racket. The proposed solution involves installing acoustic panels on the court fences to dampen the sound. These panels have two layers: a hard plastic outer layer to block sound and a softer, quilted inner layer to absorb it.

According to a study by the affected neighbors, the noise levels from the pickleball courts can reach up to 80 decibels, comparable to the sound of truck traffic or a garbage disposal. Residents hope that installing these panels will significantly reduce the noise, allowing them to enjoy some peace and quiet in their homes.

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"I don't like being the neighborhood Karen but it's just too much. I can't enjoy my house. I have to wear earplugs, headpieces - Just to relax," said neighbor Mike Megley, who's lived in the neighborhood for 60 years.

The project, approved by the city for just under $19,000, aims to have the acoustic panels installed by mid-May, just in time for the start of pickleball season on April 1. While residents don't expect complete silence, they hope for a reasonable compromise to mitigate the noise impact without affecting play.

Way to go, Braintree. We hope this solution works so that we can finally stop reporting on how noisy pickleball can be.

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