Kaohsiung City is currently undergoing major construction projects, including building new subway lines and placing all existing rail lines underground. But for one 53-year-old woman living near a construction zone in the city’s Fengshan District, the daily toll of 80 decibel-plus construction noise may have contributed to a mental breakdown.

Prolonged exposure to noise is of course known to be unhealthy, and according to residents in the area construction has been ongoing for more than two years and often happens both day and night. Residents describe hearing explosions from time to time, presumably part of tunneling efforts in the area.

The unnamed woman was found hanged in her home earlier this week with reports indicating she found the noise intolerable. It would likely be impossible to prove in a court of law that construction noise was directly responsible for her decision to take her own life, but this sad death will hopefully help both companies and authorities better understand how infrastructure projects affect people living in the construction area.

New, quieter technology is being developed in all sorts of industries – can you imagine what Taiwan would be like if someone invented a silent jackhammer?

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