by Captain Future
Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:34:17 AM EST
Of all the forms of damaging pollution, the one that gets the least attention is noise. People don't listen, they don't want to hear about it. It just seems like an inconvenience, like complaining. It's not like having your nerves frayed and your hearing fried is worth crying about.
Well, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! According to a new study, says the Guardian:
"Thousands of people around the world are dying prematurely from heart disease triggered by long-term exposure to excessive noise, according to research by the World Health Organisation."
Based on WHO figures, the Guardian estimates that of some 100,000 annual deaths from heart disease in the UK, more than 3,000 are from chronic noise exposure, to ordinary urban/suburban and maybe rural noise.
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
"Until now, noise has been the Cinderella form of pollution and people haven't been aware that it has an impact on their health," said Deepak Prasher, professor of audiology at University College London.
I don't really understand the Cinderella reference, but you get the idea. Nobody's listening! Nobody wants to hear about noise!
The Guardian continues:
Research published in recent years has shown that noise can increase the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenalin in the body, even during sleep. The longer these hormones stay in circulation around the bloodstream, the more likely they are to cause life-threatening physiological problems. High stress levels can lead to heart failure, strokes, high blood pressure and immune problems. "All this is happening imperceptibly," said Prof Prasher. "Even when you think you are used to the noise, these physiological changes are still happening."
The basic problem with noise--and one reason it causes stress--is that when it's noisy you can't hear anything. We depend on our hearing a great deal more than we're normally conscious of. I suspect that noise suggests to us when we're in danger, that we're under attack, though subconsciously most of the time. It turns out, our subconscious is right. We are in danger. We are under attack.
Our very noisy society also interferes with our ability to think--to essentially talk to ourselves for a continuous concentrated period. A lot of people like that, of course; it's how they make their money, by preventing people from thinking, and pushing their other buttons.
"Totalitarianism," Norman Mailer once wrote, and then thought so highly of it that he said it on television, "is the interruption of mood." Noise is one of the major weapons of totalitarians (Hitler, Big Brother, Dolores Umbridge) and of torturers. Now it's more than shattered mood and thoughts. It's a heart attack.