I came across this interesting article about the level of noise in Egypt that's both poignant and humorous. It's interesting how quickly I got used to the general sensory overload when I briefly lived in Cairo and it honestly didn't feel as loud as the article states but then again it's easy to become oblivious to noise when you find yourself being louder as well!
"This is not like London or New York, or even Tehran, another car-clogged Middle Eastern capital. It is like living day in and day out with a lawn mower running next to your head, according to scientists with Egypt's National Research Center. They spent five years studying noise levels across the city and concluded in a report issued earlier this year that the average noise from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. is 85 decibels, a bit louder than a freight train at a distance of 15 feet, or 4.6 meters, said Mustafa el Sayyid, an engineer who helped conduct the study. At other locations, it is far worse, he said. In Tahrir Square, or Ramsis Square, or the road leading to the pyramids, the noise often reaches 95 decibels, he said, which is only slightly quieter than standing next to a jackhammer. Noise at the levels commonly found in Cairo physically affects the body. It can cause elevated blood pressure and other stress-related diseases."