Friday, 10 June 2016

The Harmful Effects of Noise Pollution

I struggle to believe what I am hearing. We had to move from where we were mostly due to intolerable noise. Now in the new apartment, a few weeks after moving in the school at the end of the road began blasting what they call music over loud speakers so that it was way too loud even many buildings away. People get angry if I say anything. Am I really the one to get angry at?

Do you know that there are serious side effects affecting ones health from exposure to noise pollution. I took a brief look at MedPub and wrote down the first 3 articles that I found. I'd love to do a literature review of all the effects. Here are just two side effects of quite a few on the list.

The first identified in the first two articles of which I have quoted just a sentence or two is Hearing Loss.  Know anyone who is deaf? Do you know what it is like to be deaf? If not, read this article for a few thoughts shared by a pensioner who used to be a teacher and is almost deaf as an consequence of her work.

Article 1 with reference after in brackets:
"Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is an important occupational disease worldwide resulting from interactions between genetic and environmental factors..." (Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jun 3;13(6). pii: E561. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13060561. Genetic Variation in POU4F3 and GRHL2 Associated with Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Chinese Population: A Case-Control Study.
Article 2 with reference after in brackets:
"Noise induced hearing loss is a slowly developing hearing impairment, caused by occupational exposure to excessive noise levels, constitutes a lesion of the auditory analyzer and clinically manifested as chronic bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Currently, there is not a treatment that provide a cure of sensorineural hearing loss" (Med Tr Prom Ekol. 2016;(3):37-48. 
[Article in Russian]
The next article is sad to hear of too. Article 3 with reference afterwards in brackets:
"Exposure to road traffic noise has been associated with adiposity and diabetes in adults. The suggested pathways have been through sleep disturbance and stress. Children may be particularly susceptible to noise induced sleep disturbance and stress and the effects hereof.... The conclusion of this study demonstrates: 'We found suggestions of a positive association between road traffic noise and risk of overweight in 7-years old children.' The problem affects both pregnancy and children." (Environ Int. 2016 May 31;94:170-176. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.05.016. [Epub ahead of print] Pregnancy and childhood exposure to residential traffic noise and overweight at 7years of age.
This is only 3 articles, there are many more to come and many more horrible side effects
What are we doing to our children? Is noise blasted over loudspeakers so that it is heard from the other end of the street really a good education? Do we want to create deaf people? Do we want to create obese children or those with diabetes and other horrible conditions? The noise teaches the kids to be angry, disrespectful, unhappy, inconsiderate, unpleasant people who can not think straight to comprehend the consequences of their actions. Is this what we want for ourselves or our children? How about teaching our children to be calm, relaxed, considerate, polite, kind, deep thinking, who care about this world, the environment, nature, animals and each other? How about teaching our children to love. How can there be love when loud noise is blasted at deafening levels? Where is space for love in such conditions? Love and peace require soft gentle music, soft voices, even surprise, surprise silence. When there is silence there is space to hear the still small voice within us and to be guided by our intuition. When there is silence there is the potential to contemplate, to open up to the fact that the world was created by a loving, omnipotent Creator. There is the potential to feel love and express love and peace to others. But unity and love don't happen where there is such complete lack of respect by blasting the neighbourhood with inhuman levels of noise.
What will it take for adults to learn that noise pollution is not healthy and the consequences sometimes are not treatable.  What will it take for us to care about our children and the message that we give them through our actions? When will we learn that what G-d wants is peace not war, love not hatred, calm not unbearable noise. 

Are we ready for Shavuot? I know I'm not, the huge noise has left me with a tight stomach, raising pulse, difficulty thinking and a huge headache. Classic symptoms of stress. 

What are you going to do to prepare for Shavuot? Will your preparation be conducive to receiving the Torah or the opposite?

Remember, prevention is better than cure!

Shabbat Shalom

Shoshanah Shear

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