disease · environment · health

Noise pollution

A landing Qantas Boeing 747-400 passes close t...
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Great editorial about the effects of noise pollution on people in populated areas, and from a source who would know; Burma, or Myanmar, a country with over 55 million people crammed into a relatively small space:

The Manipur Pollution Control Board has been making efforts to lessen pollution in this fast growing city of ours. However one dimension of pollution seems to be neglected comparatively speaking, and that is noise pollution. Most citizens are unaware that prolonged exposure to noise pollution can lead to deafness or hearing impairment.

To get a clearer picture of the menace of noise pollution let us get down to a few facts. Noise is measured by its loudness and the technical measuring unit is decibel (dB).

The quietness we get in a library is surprisingly measured at 30 dB. Perhaps the flipping of pages are responsible for that. The quietness in a garden, far from the madding crowd, is slightly higher.

It is not known how many decibles are registered by a nagging wife. But it is bound to make a few neighbours raise their eyebrows and plead for calm. However Rip Van Winkle left his wife and slept in quiet and solitude for twenty years.

On the other hand a pair of young lovers will of course, make sure that at least sound does not betray their presence.

City traffic, heard from inside a car is measured at 85 dB. A police whistle is measured above 90 dB. The level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss is between 90-95 dB.

What is of concern, particularly related to our children, is that even short term exposure to excessive loudness can cause permanent damage.

more at The Menace of Noise Pollution.

I have moved from a couple of different apartments because of the associated noise pollution from busy streets or freeway noises, and I can’t work with super loud music on (although a little white noise is actually useful for me).

What are some of the biggest noise polluters where you live?

Mental · Nature

The importance of healthy sound

I posted this on my other blog, Art of Science, because it concerns the science behind pretty sounds, but it’s also important from an environmental enrichment perspective – in fact that’s what Julian Treasure does for a living – so I wanted to also post it here:

From Art of Science

Listen to Julian Treasure’s TED talk about sound. [And really listen! Close your other computer screens, turn off the email “ping”s and listen.]

Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health — even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound.

Julian Treasure is the chair of Sound Agency, “a firm that advises worldwide businesses — offices, retailers, hotels — on how to use sound. He asks us to pay attention to the sounds that surround us. How do they make us feel: productive, stressed, energized, acquisitive?

Treasure is the author of the book Sound Business and keeps a blog by the same name that ruminates on aural matters (and offers a nice day-by-day writeup of TEDGlobal 2009). In the early 1980s, Treasure was the drummer for the Fall-influenced band Transmitters.” (Source: TED)