Literatus: The noise within-A A +A
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
NOISE is so much a part of our daily lives that we come to accept it with admirable tolerance. In fact, it can become the stimulant that some people seek, and believe that the decibels of "sonar energy" can keep them mentally alive.
Sylvia Plath, author of the book The Bell Jar, wrote: “The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
But recent studies have noted that basking in the noise in our urban environment can be very unwise after all. A meta-analysis published lately in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health just unearthed many reasons why.
First, it can cause hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels can damage inner ear cells. Short exposures may be temporary and recovery occurs over a few days. But further out, full recovery may not happen. Even brief exposure to very high decibels of 130 or more causes instant, irreversible hearing damage.
Factors connected with hearing loss include smoking, exposure to 8000 Hertz (high frequency) and age of more than 40 years.
Here is another more serious consequence of prolonged exposure to noise pollution: cardiovascular risks as worse as heart attack, either through ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction. That makes us wonder how noise will be connected to heart attack.
The Environmental Expert Council of Germany noted still way back 2004 that even during sleep, environmental noise can generate dangerous brain signals that releases stress hormones. Long-standing release of these hormones increases the risk factors involved in developing ischemia of the heart and heart attack. There has been a trend confirmed by research toward cardiovascular accidents when daytime noise level exceeds 65 decibels. This is true and much higher among people with existing heart injury.
The World Health Organization, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Lebanese Ministry of Environment also noted that noise exposure increases the risks towards the development of hypertension and ulcers.
Here’s an excerpt from Joaquin Miller’s The True Poet:
God’s poet is silence! His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken—
The unceasing song of the first morning star.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 12, 2012.