Pickleball noise lawsuits | problems, solutions

No matter how many walls you build around your house, these pickleballers ain’t going to stop. The rise of neighborhood drama, more and more cases being reported, and the sensitivity of the issue are the three main reasoning I was compelled to write pickleball noise lawsuits, addressing the problem, cases, established rules, and possible solutions. 

Pickleball noise lawsuits problems, solutions

Myself is a pickleball enthusiast, and honestly, I spent like 2 weeks researching and gathering the data, and my head was rounding over the shocking facts I discovered. I was previously aware that pickleball is noisy, but could it let people file cases against it? I wasn’t expecting it. The basic reason behind the annoying noise of pickleball is the “whiffle ball,” which is plastic and the surface is fiberglass with a solid core inside. This creates havoc for the communities having courts between residencies. 

Pickleball Lawsuits:

The locals are filing complaints about pickleball noise every passing week. There have been dozens of reports solely in Florida, stating how their daily life is being disturbed by a continuous pop. Some of the alarming reports filed in the last 2 years are as follows:

In Newport Beach, Calif, a woman reported having severe mental illness and anxiety. The court was, in fact, 300 feet away from her home. A couple in South Carolina couldn’t enjoy it because of the sound coming out of the courts at 2 a.m. 

Lori Brakka, a 59-year-old resident of California, reports the players are so loud after winning the match. She added, “We don’t enjoy their laughter.” 

The Mission Woods’ Mayor, Darrell Franklin, filed the most severe report that put the entire game’s legacy at stake. The mayor reported that he couldn’t enjoy himself in his home while the court was 200 feet away. 

Pickleball Noise Problems: 

Among the reports, the most repeated thing non-picklers report is that the noise of pickleball is disturbing to the ears. It’s frustrating. We can’t enjoy our home time. We can’t sleep peacefully because of this continuous clack-clack bleeding our ears. Some of the reports even say the game caused mental illness and anxiety as the sound has such a harsh pitch. People can’t open their windows because of the sound. This causes anti-ventilation at home, which leads to a toxic home environment. 

Pickleball Noise problem

Based on all of these reports, the sports journalists predict “pickleball leads to great anxiety and mental disorders.” 

Why is pickleball so loud compared to tennis?

Pickleball has many advantages over tennis. But when it comes to lawsuits, tennis takes the cake. Tennis sound is half of the pickleball because the ball is made of rubber. Also, the racket has wires which further take down the pop. Not to mention, tennis has 4 times larger area compared to pickleball. 

In comparison, pickleball has plastic balls, and the paddle isn’t of foam which doesn’t result well if we’re on an audio test and love our ears. 

And the fun fact is, tennis is regulated in so many communities with strict rules that it wouldn’t make a sound. However, pickleball doesn’t have such rules yet. Maybe the authorities play the game, or they’re dead asleep.  

How dangerous is the pickleball voice?

The answer depends on the number of dBA a paddle/ball has. Generally, a pickleball paddle has 70 decibels which are equivalent to freeway traffic. However, there are certain factors that get involved in determining that. A polymer core reduces the decibels by 30%, which makes the decibel rating 21, and thus, the answer to the question, how dangerous is the pickleball voice?” is no. pickleball voice isn’t dangerous. 

But hey, you don’t play with one paddle only, right? Let’s picture the court. 

Decibel measuring of pickleball noise

The Pickleball sound is 2 times louder than the tennis sound, which worsens even more on a smaller court. In one tennis court, there are 4 players playing with an average decibel, let’s say, 30 decibels at 100 feet. Now in the same court, 16 players are playing with a 2x increase. The court can go up to 240 decibels. And that’s just the sound of the ball and paddle. Combined with the player’s noise and if the area is commercial, include hundreds of decibels of traffic. The results could be horrific. 

Pickleball noise solutions:

I know pickleball can be a real pain for non-pickleballers. However, every problem has a solution, and pickleball is no different. There are three possible solutions for this alarming issue, and each solution is practical. 

Get a quiet pickleball paddle and ball:

The pop sound is created by the ball’s contact with the paddle, and what if we bring changes in here? This is what Sun City Grand came up with. They’re an unofficial pickleball court organization that tested several pickleball paddles and made a list of quiet pickleball paddles. The USAPA doesn’t sanction this, and it’s not sure whether they actually are quiet or not.

quiet pickleball paddle

So, I tested them and reviewed them in one of my articles. I played with them in an active community as well as on a calm day to test their authenticity. These paddles have been insanely living up to my expectations reducing noise by 80%. One of my favorites is the Selkirk Amped S2 X5 FiberFlex Paddle. The paddle has a classic surface, both power, and pace, and I could excellently dink and volleys with advanced strategies. 

As a rule of thumb, polymer paddles are quieter and don’t sound as brassy as Nomex, and Aluminum paddles do. Similarly, fiberglass is louder than graphite, so you can control the sound of your paddle by keeping these minor facts in mind. 

Ball

Along with that, getting a muted pickleball is the easiest way to overcome the issue is to get a quiet pickleball paddle. Gamma has done a great done in creating a foam pickleball ball. It’s safe for kids. However, the spin and bounce rate isn’t much effective. 

Parallel to making a quiet pickleball ball, this new brand arose in the market, manufacturing the quietest pickleball paddles. Their first paddle is the “Sniper,” for which they’ve filed patents. 

Build acoustic fencing around the pickleball court

Build acoustic fencing around the pickleball court

Soundproof fencing is expensive but is a long-term and reliable option to completely shut down the voices. Many courts don’t afford sound-proof acoustic fencing—I agree, but converted courts with 4 or 8 sections in one can combine and install one, so it won’t be a burden, and the issue can be resolved too. 

Start playing pickleball

Start playing pickleball

This may sound funny, but you can make others’ pickleball sound as your own. It’s scientifically proven that a sound only sounds annoying to you if it’s coming from someone else. So, to avoid the sound, you can get your own pickleball paddle and ball, and trust me, the pop sound becomes heaven to the ear the moment it comes from your paddle. However, this is a short-term solution and does not serve everyone. Perhaps, you’ve got an infant in your home who, obviously, can’t play the game but gets disturbed and eventually disturb you in return.  

My suggestions:

In spite of all these solutions, I’ve got a great suggestion to submit to the USAP Rules Committee. 

Make a rule of decibel rating in pickleball paddle and ball

In 2023, I’m going to submit my suggestion to test the paddles and balls based on their decibel rating. Each pickleball gear should have a rating below 60 decibels at 100 feet. (average pickleball paddle sound 70 decibels at the same distance). This rule will apply to playing in the local community. Anyone who’s playing with a paddle with a decibel rating of over 80 will be charged if the neighbors file a report. This way, everyone can stay happy at home or in court. No one has to build the walls. Plus, the paddle will be authorized and official. 

Set timings for play

This was the step taken and turned out very useful. Pickleball courts are open from 8 a.m in the morning till 10 p.m at night. This solution reduced the complaints by 6%, as most reports have mentioned the night play. 

Ending note:

Pickleball noise lawsuits put pickleball at a significant stake. This, in fact, is fueling up hatred among the non-picklers and becoming a serious block in making this game one of the parts of the Olympics. Not just that, the issue is also a leading debate in the ongoing war of tennis vs. pickleball. The concerned committees are working on the issue, and there are steps taken as well to get pickleball free from horrible allegations. I hope we get to experience a more serene pickleball game in the near future. Until then, have a calm day!

HARRY ANDERSON
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