Pickleball Noise, Explained by Dr. Sarkar

March 2, 2023

Kausik Sarkar

Dr. Kausik Sarkar, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was quoted in a recent article by WUSA9 that addressed the question, why is pickleball causing so much annoyance in neighborhoods? Sarkar studies complex sonic problems as applied to the medical field, but for this issue he had a simple hypothesis: "the harder, plastic outdoor pickleballs might produce a very different sound signature than the softer tennis ball."

"The pickleball is hard and the paddle itself is also hard," he said, "while the tennis ball is soft."

Studies have found that annoyance isn't just an acoustic problem as our psychology plays a big role too. Sarkar and audio technology professor at American University, Braxton Boren, explained that some sounds can be scientifically more annoying. The noise from pickleball is unpredictable so it catches your attention easier making it more annoying.

Read the full article. Photo courtesy of Ruth Morton, WUSA9.