Scientists warn of a ‘deaf generation’ that will lose the ability to hear as nature intended as daily noise pollution reaches saturation levels
- Generation exposed to constant noise could be losing the ability to hear
- Noise pollution could be blocking out natural sounds that boost health
- Hearing is ‘universal learning sense’ active even when we’re sleeping
A ‘deaf generation’ exposed to constant noise may be losing the ability to hear as nature intended, a sound expert has claimed.
As a result people could be missing out on the positive effects from natural sounds that contribute to good health and well-being, research suggests.
Dr Kurt Fristrup, who has monitored sound levels in 90 US national parks including Yosemite, Grand Teton and the Grand Canyon, stressed that hearing is a ‘universal learning sense’ active even when we are sleeping or anaesthetized.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Jose, California, he said: ‘It’s not surprising since we’re seeing more rapid growth in noise and in population in our cities, the built environment is providing lots of cues that we find annoying or aren’t relevant to us, that people are putting on earphones or even noise-cancelling earphones, to just try and create a quieter or more congenial environment.
‘Of course what they’re missing, what’s being lost, is the ability to hear threats that are real. It’s the cry wolf phenomenon.
‘There will be the occasional cue that really matters – for runners I worry about this – but more importantly, even in our cities there are birds; there are things to appreciate in the environment as well.
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