What are we doing to our hearing? “The New Yorker” in the current issue takes a serious look at a serious, and seriously neglected, threat to health, especially in developed nations. There is a great risk, not just of developing impaired hearing, but of far worse diseases and disorders, some irreversible. The worst hearing impairment is a little-known condition called hyperacusis, but its occurrence is rare, and it’s the result of life in post-industrial societies. Not the case for far more dire consequences, of existential significance. As the article suggests, “Noise is now seen as a factor in a range of ailments, including heart disease.” Be aware.
One of the alarming observations reported here is that the knowledge of the depredations of excessive noise on the environment, on humans, and on creatures in the wild (including the world’s oceans) have been known since the 70s, especially by our US government. Here’s what it reports:
Measuring noise is important, [Arline Bronzaft, retired professor of environmental psychology] said, but it isn’t an end in itself. “If I don’t see the data being used to get action, I’m not going to be happy,” she continued. “We had all this stuff in the nineteen-seventies. And what have we done?”
So read this typically engaging account of the phenomenon and threat: