short reflection …

Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by sounds. Some are annoying, some are pleasant. Even if we try hard, we will never find a completely silent place.

When something moves, it makes a sound even though human can’t always hear it. Sounds are everywhere, they surround us. We normally pay attention to those produced by people or things: jus think of traffic or factories. Yet, nature too can be noisy: imagine an erupting volcano!

In general, the sounds are neither good no bad; it is we who listen who feel the difference. If a sound is unpleasant to us, we consider it a noise, and we fell unwell.

In the cities, we talk about noise pollution to refer to the intense noises that disturb people. Even the cities of the past were very noisy though.

Many people around the world are exposed to excessively high noise levels which could be dangerous to health. Levels are measured in a unit called a decibel.

It is not very easy to measure decibels, because they don’t add up like numbers. The sound of a person’s voice speaking in a normal pitch is around 50 decibels but two persons do not produce 100 decibels but 53 decibels.

According to WHO (World health Organization- OMS) the road traffic should not exceed 45 decibels and about 70 in some roads with high traffic (in Kathmandu about 82 decibels!).

Most people agree that a totally silent world might be unpleasant. Many sounds make our daily experiences interesting. Noise is not necessarily a “pollutant”; some sounds can have positive effects. For example, listening the sounds of nature such as birds or flowing water can help reduce stress and improve well-being and mood.

Some sounds can be so unique that they become a kind of sonic signature of a place. When we hear them, we immediately open up many things about that place, without needing to see it.

The sound of a cheering crowd is very recognizable and refers us to a stadium of football our cricket during a match.

So far we have talked about cities and outdoor spaces.

Yet, we often spend time indoors where we hear sounds coming both from inside and outside the rooms in which we find ourselves.

If you are sitting on the sofa, you can hear the laughter of someone walking upstairs or the wind rustling outside the window.

When we are indoors, sounds travel through the air and can even pass through the walls of buildings and window panes. Some walls reflect sounds, others absorb them.

Then the quality of the sound is different, In a large empty classroom for example, the sound of footsteps seems very loud.

The walls and the stone floors reflect sounds while soft and porous surfaces absorb them. Sound absorbing materials are used for example in cinemas and theaters: seats, curtains, upholstered walls. The echo is counteracted and the film vision is better.

When sounds and noises reach our ears, they are then carried along the ear canals to our brain who interprets them. Some attract our attention while others go unnoticed.

In some shops, the music drowns out annoying noises.

The definition of “sound” and “noise” depends on what we are doing in this moment. The sound of voices can be pleasant during a dinner or relaxing in home but it is bothersome if you try to listen to a teacher!

Maybe you like silence and tranquility when you read a good book but if you go out with friends, you prefer loud music.

Some people prefer to study or to read in silence while others find it easier to concentrate with music playing in the background.

There are sounds that everyone likes;: usually those of nature: the singing of birds, the flow of water.

There is no perfect recipe for everyone.

The more we learn about sounds and they importance in our lives, the more chances we have to appreciating them whether is the melody of a recited mantra, a cow mooing, a car passing by on the road or a mountain stream…… countless everywhere!


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