Nowadays the movies are being regularly aired on cable TV that has brought the cinema halls almost within the precincts of your living room. The special sound effects embedded in the movie thunder into your ears like a bomb shell. You aren’t given even fraction of a second to reduce those harsh and high sounds. The time you are able to do that through your remote device, the damage has already been done.
ENTERTAINMENT, BLESSING OR WHAT!
by Nayyar Hashmey
Today am going to talk on noise levels in our entertaining and spiritual world. We don’t take these noises seriously, ignoring the very fact these high levels that seem to entertain us are a nuisance; that affect us even more dangerously.
Why? Because mostly we associate noise with planes, trains, road traffic, construction sites or a factory. Rarely do we think about noise levels from recreational and religious activities. Actually, I think we spend so much effort mitigating the former, that we forget that the recreational / religious activities can also cause hearing damage. In fact, many amongst us inadvertently expose ourselves to high levels of noise during such activities. So you might be protected at work — but your activities might effect you…..
What type of activities are we talking about?
a) Music in clubs and concerts –I couldn’t agree more on this point. We go to clubs and concert halls and they have a band and all other gadgets. The rock concerts! You feel like stuffing tissues (though, probably not effective) in your ears.
b) Sound in cinemas- Films nowadays rely on special effects and these are more likely to have higher noise levels with average levels of 78dB (A) over a 3 hour period. That’s like having a tractor in your house for 3 hours.
c) Personal music systems– Well, I get really annoyed by people who have their mp3s on full blast to drown out the background noise on the train. Not only is this annoying for everyone else to listen to their music, but they’re themselves too, getting the ear damage. According to a study done in Australia, sound levels from their mp3s, was on average 79.8dB. 25% of listeners exceeded the Australian work exposure criterion of 85dB!
d) Motor sports – If you are living in Singapore I have in mind the one in your city, when in coming Sep, a lot of Singaporeans (well, those who can afford the tickets!) will be exposed to noise from the vroom vroom. Those who can afford seats with the best views will definitely be exposed to noise from the revving, racing, and amplified music. The event organizers will be protected by their state of the art hearing protection, but I don’t think ear plugs for the patrons will be as effective. According to IOA, a spectator could be exposed to around 90 dB (A)!!
e) Car stereo systems – You know who you are! Those of you who like to drive round with the window down and have your stereo on full blast, as if we didn’t know you were there. On full blast, it can go up to 104dB (A)!!
f) Home TV – Nowadays the movies are being regularly aired on cable TV that has brought the cinema halls almost within the precincts of your living room. The special sound effects embedded in the movie thunder into your ears like a bomb shell. You aren’t given even fraction of a second to reduce those harsh and high sounds. The time you are able to do that through your remote device, the damage has already been done.
g) The high blast sermons and speeches – Here in Pakistan, there is another aspect to this noise problem. Being Muslims, we firmly believe the words of God from the holy book or the saying of Azaan are a blessing for all of us, which indeed they are, not only for us but for every believer. However, the volume that detonates from loudspeakers is no more a blessing; they damage your hearing, and come upon your nerves. No wonder, by every passing day, we are getting short tempered, melancholic and every third person has fits of depression.
I myself visit the mosque in our residential quarters. This is a small mosque, a beautiful structure indeed, but the Imam Sahib or his assistant would put the volume at such a high rate that sometimes one feels one is not listening to the blessing words of a call for prayer, the sound waves hammer your head. Now offering prayers means your communion with Almighty Allah which needs peace and tranquility but this is the very thing the Mullah despises. One hears naats, speeches and recitations coming from minarets at a level that makes one feel there is a race going on between different mosques as to who has the highest volume.
Many a time a boy will get hold of the mike and start relating names of the persons who have made donations to the mosque. And the boy would chant, “a four years old kid has donated rupee one to the mosque, see his love for the mosque, see his jazba, see the sacrifice ha has made, all for the sake of ‘khidmat’ to the mosque” and this is repeated again and again on the mike. There is no time fixed for such announcements, it could be right at the time of your offering the prayers, could be just in the middle of the night or at any time the moulvi or his assistant may desire this.
The volume for such acts of ‘goodness’ are intentionally kept very high so that every one hears about the good deed being done by pious kids and sinners not listening to them, but they too will now be forced to listen as the volume is increased to maximum. There is no consideration that a poor student might be preparing for his exam, some ailing person is lying in the bed and needs peace, another person might be offering his / her prayers or reading the holy Quran, but Moulvi sahib would not bother that these high noises from the minarets or from Imam’s seat are doing exactly opposite to what is desired in our religion of peace.
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