Wednesday December 13, 2017

Noise is Contaminating the Natural Sounds: Causes and Effects of Noise Pollution

Nowadays, surroundings have become deafening, we cannot hear the natural sounds around us. We need to listen to the nature to understand it and assimilate with it, for the optimum utilization of our brain faculties, so as to get a deep inside experience.

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Noise pollution
Noise Pollution. Illustration by Mehr Arora of Same Condition.com

– by Dr. Bharti Raizada

Sound is the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing, whereas noise is a loud, unwanted, unpleasant, and harsh sound. The natural sounds such as Chirping of birds, Gurgling and splash of water, Movement of trees/ leaves, Bee buzz are ear-friendly as well as eco-friendly sounds.

Noises Everywhere

In our daily life, too much noise pollution is going all around us. Almost every equipment and machine at homes such as refrigerator, microwave, mixers, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, exhaust fans, exercising machines etc. creates continuous noise when operated.

When we go outside our homes, there are noises which constantly keep banging our eardrum. For example, traffic noises, sirens, and music. Whether it may be a shopping mall, a restaurant or a get-together noise in the form of music is forced on us. Even in the hospitals, televisions are always on with high volume most of the times. We may think that when we are sleeping we are not exposed to noise. However, this is not true. The brain is still getting exposure. We end up hearing noises all day and night, whether we choose it or not.

Causes of the Noise Pollution

Many sounds which are disturbing and harmful to the ears fall in the categories of noise pollution. Some glaring examples of noise are ones created by Airplanes, Trains, Traffic on road and Jackhammers and machinery (refrigerator, washing machines, mixers, grinders, hair dryer, water heaters, phones, and computers).

If our surroundings are deafening, we cannot hear the natural sounds which are soothing to the ears. We need to listen to the nature to understand it and assimilate with it for the optimum utilization our brain faculties, so as to get a deep inside experience which will help us to introspect, to think, and to contemplate.

There are some people who get used to noises and it does not bother them. While some are very sensitive to it and even develop misophonia (a dislike or hatred of some sounds).

Noise pollution
Noise Pollution. Illustration by Mehr Arora of Same Condition.com

Hearing abilities of many animals and insects rely on the waves produced by natural sounds, for example, Elephants communicate with each other by infrasounds, Bats use ultrasound to find insects and to avoid hitting an object, Whales find their babies by sending clicking sounds and then listening to bounce back echo. Excessive and continuous noise, created by modern, developed human, is affecting animals, water creatures, and birds also.

Effects of Noise Pollution 

Noise has many effects on our body, mind, behavior, and mood. It can affect hearing and even lead to deafness. It Increases risk of hypertension and stroke. It annoys and upsets people and leads to release of stress hormones and sleep disturbances. There are effects on children also in terms of learning and cognition.

How can we protect ourselves from noise pollution?

It is of utmost importance to control noise to prevent long-lasting damages. If we do not want to see something, we can choose not to go there, however, it is not that easy in case of noise. The initial step is to accept that noise is a pollutant then decrease its production at the source, and increase the distance between a source and yourself.

  • Use decibel meter app –it measures noise and then action can be taken to move away from it or decrease it.
  • Use noise canceling headphones.
  • Use quiet pavement which muffles traffic noise.
  • Use quiet machinery.
  • Install insulated walls in the home and workplace to muffle or cut off noises from other rooms.

The government should set noise level standards, make noise laws, and strictly enforce those.

Take a step to reduce noise pollution

One has to be careful and try to decrease noise at personal level e.g. do not make loud noises when walking, decrease the volume of TV and music so that it is not annoying or uncomfortable for others. Be sensitive to needs of the people who are sensitive to noises. Insist on getting your quiet time back and let others enjoy their noise-free life.

Dr. Raizada is an Anesthesiologist in Chicago and CEO of Same Condition (a platform that connects people with Same Condition). 

 

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6 Foods You Should Mandatorily Avoid At Night

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Eating right before bed is never a healthy habit. The ideal time for dinner is at least three hours before going to bed. Eating the right food at night is very crucial in ensuring sound sleep and better digestion. There are certain foods you should never eat before going to bed. They can end up causing a turbulent night ahead. Here are the six foods you should mandatorily avoid at night:

1. Milk

Though rich in protein and calcium, milk is something you should definitely avoid at night. The lactose content of the milk causes indigestion thereby depriving you of a perfect sleep. Additionally, if you are lactose intolerant, you should keep milk at an arm’s length during the night time. You can have pasta instead.

lactose content of the milk causes indigestion. Pixabay

2. Chocolate

A small cube of chocolate is something everyone loves to have after supper. However, your favorite dessert can be very unhealthy. The high sugar content and caffeine keeps away you from sleeping well. Consequently, lack of sleep causes sluggishness and inefficiency in work.

High sugar content and caffeine keeps away you from sleeping well. Pixabay

3. Pizza

Say a big no to Pizza before going to bed. Your choicest pizza contains high calories and trans fats which can sit in your stomach throughout the night leaving you disturbed for a protracted period of time.

Pizza contains high calories and trans fats which can sit in your stomach. Wikimedia

4. Fruit Juice

The idea of gulping down a glass of fruit juice instead of dinner is rather very bad. Fruit juices during night tend to have an acidic reaction on your body. They can cause heartburn as well.

Fruit juices during night tend to have an acidic reaction. Maxpixelfree

5. Alcohol

A peg of alcohol at night can lead to an acid influx. Alcohol relaxes your valves that connect the stomach to the oesophagus. Consequently, the body is unable to place the food where it belongs resulting in an acid influx.

Alcohol at night can lead to an acid influx. Wikimedia

6. Soda

Are you suffering from an acid reflux and thus planning to drink a glass of soda to counter the malady? You might not get the desired results. Soda is itself highly acidic in content which can harm the valves due to carbonation thereby leading to increased pressure on the stomach.

Soda is itself highly acidic in content which can harm the valves due to carbonation. Wikimedia

 

Prepared by Mohima Haque of NewsGram.

Twitter: mohimahaque26

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Killer Disease “EGO”: Why is it a Worse Killer than All Physical Diseases Combined?

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EGO , disease
EGO can be a far worse killer than all the physical diseases put together (Representative Image). Pixabay
by Seetha Ramanathan
June 20, 2017:
NewsGram readers have so far acquired knowledge about various cultures, festivals celebrated in different parts of the world, latest happenings in politics etc.
 
While the above is good to know, I want to pull the strings of the readers’ heart by raking up a very important issue. All around, life is good, highly educated, great disposable income, all amenities at your fingertips, but there is a hollowness…… while living as humans is a necessity, we have forgotten to “be human”. We are becoming a society with bulging pockets and shrinking hearts.
 
“Treat others as you expect yourself to be treated” which is an oft-repeated proverb is now relegated to the morning messages on WhatsApp. Does it really matter to the people who read it? Do they really change? The root cause for all this is a sense of false authority, a wrong belief that you are above the others, a continuous comparison and “keeping up with the Jones’s” syndrome.
 
All this gets driven by a very deadly disease : EGO. A sense of satisfaction, contentment, inner peace has all vanished, everyone has become a marauder, an opportunist, climb over others, crush others to achieve one’s objective. EGO can be a far worse killer than all the physical diseases put together. Mind you, all of us suffer from this malaise called EGO. Our culture of touching the elder’s feet or prostrate in front of GOD were all aimed towards crushing the EGO within us, we have to bend in front of elders. That culture is also vanishing now where hugging and “high fives” are taking over….. my ego does not allow me to even to touch another’s feet !
 
Let me do my best to get the readers to even realise the need to shed one’s ego and build a great place to live in.
 
There is a story in the Bible.  A Priest standing on the sea shore would catch a number of fishes that were brought by the waves to the seashore, he would then throw the fishes back into the sea. This was his daily routine. A passer-by saw this and asked the Priest “Is there any sense in wasting time like this? These fishes will have to die, if not today then tomorrow“. The Priest politely replied “Son, I also know very well about the fate of these fishes, but I have the satisfaction by throwing them back into the sea I helped them to live at least for a day more”. 
 
The humanity, the need to help at all times, the belief that I rose from ashes and will return to ashes, these are the few mantras if repeated regularly, will make us realise the futility of living with an EGO. The three “S” that can break the ego within you always :
  • Smile
  • Silence
  • Service
 
Those who live in vanity, die in vain.
 
Here I wish to narrate a mythological story in short. Many of you might be aware of this story or might not, the reason to narrate is to understand what vanity can do to you and not to raise a debate on the genuineness of the myth.
 
In Hinduism, “Bhasmasura ” was an asura who was granted the power to burn up and immediately turn into ashes anyone whose head he touched with his hand. He got this boon from Lord Shiva since he was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.  
 
When Bhasmasura saw Parvathi, he was enamored with her and wanted to own her. This was possible only when Shiva would be killed, so he chased Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, in his attempt to save himself, sought the help of Lord Vishnu.
 
Lord Vishnu took the form of a courtesan called Mohini and appeared before Bhasmasura. Since she was very appealing, Bhasmasura fell in love with her but Mohini had a condition before she became his consort. She wanted Bhasmasura to dance with her and copy every step she did. Both of them danced for days and Bhasmasura, being a learned dancer, could match her step for step. In the heat of the dance Mohini placed her hand on her head and Bhasmasura did the same and was reduced to ashes! Bhasmasura was blinded by his ego and ultimately dug his own grave.
 
If you see around you, there can be a lot of characters from history to today who have perished due to their bloated ego.
 
We do not require to pass certain courses or listen to enlightened souls to shed ourselves of our ego. All we need is a self-realisation and self-discipline. I believe I have practiced this and adopted this in my life and I am in a state of bliss and least stress all the time, I want each one of my readers also to experience this state. SHED EGO PLEASE!
– Seetha Ramanathan is a Bengaluru-based writer. Email her at- trrseetha@gmail.com

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Traffic Noise can reduce Birds’ ability to hear an Alarm call, making them Vulnerable to Predators

Excess noise in the environment from sources such as traffic can have negative effects on animals that rely on sound to communicate and get information about their surroundings

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Excess noise lead to hearing imparement thus birds get vulnerable to predators
Birds: Hearing imparement due to excess noise,pixabay

New York, December 28,2016: Traffic noise can reduce birds’ ability to hear an alarm call, thereby potentially increasing their vulnerability to predators, a new research has found.

“There has been lots of work on how anthropogenic noise affects vocal production, but much less on the response of animals to signals in the presence of noise,” said one of the researchers, Megan Gall, from Vassar College in New York.

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The researchers tested how traffic noise affected the reactions of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice to alarm calls, which warn birds that a predator is nearby.

Using speakers set up near feeding platforms baited with bird seed, they recorded the birds’ responses to three different recordings — alarm calls alone, traffic noise alone, and a combination of the two.

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The traffic noise did not deter the birds from feeding, but five times as many birds approached speakers when the researchers played alarm calls on their own compared with when traffic sounds were added, according to the study published in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

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The findings suggest that excess noise in the environment from sources such as traffic can have negative effects on animals that rely on sound to communicate and get information about their surroundings. (IANS)