Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dangerous Decibels

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In the event you haven't noticed, it has snowed a lot this Winter. Yup, we get the weather warning and, sure enough, the neige starts falling. On Tuesday it was deep enough that the snowblowers on our court were out in force. I was bemused at one point when I saw and heard that our next-door neighbour was using her leaf blower to clean the snow off her car! I hate the mosquito-from-hell sound of leaf blowers, and here it was whining away in February.

It so happened that earlier in the day Dr Peter Lin did his regular health spot on CBC radio. He spoke about a recent World Health Organization report on the effects of noise on health. It is far more than an annoyance or irritant. Noise can affect heart health and deprive us of sleep. While the threshold of 85 decibels is often cited as danger level for hearing loss, anything over 55db can affect us significantly and 40% of Europeans live with environmental noise above that level. According to WHO, noise shortens the lives of a million people in Western Europe each year.

Remember that I noted the gospel reading from Mark for last Sunday included Jesus' choice to get away from the demands of his ministry by going to a deserted place to pray? There is an old expression "it's so noisy I can't hear myself think!" I continue to wonder how we turn down the noise of our lives so that we can think and pray and find some sense of peace and tranquility. Ya, it is the impossible dream for parents of young kids, and the poor often have little choice about their noisy surroundings. Strangely though, it is our affluence which turns up the noise with our gadgets and gotta-haves.

What do you think? Is your world getting noisier? Was Jesus on to something? Am I bringing on your heart attack by musing on this subject so often?

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