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It has been a few years and overall my ear is better but from time to time it still gets a minor full feeling. When checked, Shutterstock's safe search screens restricted content and excludes it from your search results. The higher you climb on this scale, the less time the human ear can endure that level before taking on permanent damage.
With these numbers, it’s easy to see that care should be taken to reduce exposure to loud noises.
In his new book, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, Prochnik leaves the noisy confines of New York City and goes on a global quest to find those who still value silence. George Prochnik is also the author of Putnam Camp: Sigmund Freud, James Jackson Putnam, and the Purpose of American Psychology.
Among the noises Prochnik investigates in In Pursuit of Silence are those deliberately added to an environment to trigger key emotions and excitement.
Chapter One Listening for the Unknown On my second night in the monastery, I heard the silence.
Blue whales produce sounds around 20 Hz and with intensity measured as high as 189 dB (Sirovic). It seems to be triggered by loud noise such as a noisy environment, or by listening to headphones for too long. Going to see a live band, attending a sporting event, or even standing on a busy city street can result in a lot of harsh noise hitting your eardrums. In other words, you can listen to a rock concert for an hour and not damage your hearing, while hearing a shotgun discharge constantly for an hour would certainly lead to hearing damage. He examines the never-ending series of sounds that pervade his thoughts on a daily basis a€” the traffic helicopters, the leaky iPods, the neighbors who hold loud parties a€” and researches the scientific effects of noise on our bodies. He points to one study conducted in France that showed a clear correlation between noise levels and how much people eat and drink. I was inside the church: a beautiful, vast chamber of limestone blocks that resemble lumpy oatmeal and were quarried from the Iowan earth by the monks themselves in the mid-nineteenth century. But that’s not always an option – if you’re at a rock concert, you’re not going to want to leave after the first 15 minutes.


She specializes in the treatment of sinusitis, sleep apnea, tonsillitis, and more ENT conditions.
The monks had finished compline, the last of the day's seven prayer services, and had filed off into the inner recesses of the monastery, where they would observe the Great Silence, speaking to no one until after mass the next morning.
NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. Ear plugs can be a great way to combat these loud noises and save your hearing in the long run.
The last of the monks to leave had switched off the lights above the choir, and then the light over the lectern.
Though the section of visitors' pews where I sat still had a little illumination, the body of the church was now in total blackness except for the faint flickering of a votive candle suspended high in the distance against the far wall. Mostly I was reflecting on the service I had just heard, which Brother Alberic, my gracious liaison to the world of the monastery, had described as a kind of lullaby. Compline is lovely, and I was frustrated that I had not been able to find it more profound. My thoughts were noisy enough that I half expected to see them break out of my skull and begin dancing a musical number up and down the wooden benches. They ranged from the verge of inaudibility to the violence of hammer blows; discrete chips of sound and reverberatory gonnngs. It was a grand, slightly menacing sound that I had been oblivious to not only during the prayer service but afterward in the din of my mental dithering.
The ever-changing sonic punctuation of this empty space a€” which had first seemed soundless a€” gave me a tingling sense of elevation.
Later that night when I retreated to my room, and my euphoria had subsided, I wondered why I had been affected so powerfully.
Objectively, the only thing that had happened, after all, was that I had heard the metal of the pipes expanding and contracting as they heated and cooled. Why did I feel at that lonely hour that I had found what I was looking for when I came to the monastery? Trappist monks, a branch of the Cistercian order, do not make a vow of total silence, and today there are times when they engage in conversation; but silence is their mother tongue.


Saint Benedict, who is credited with founding Western Christian monasticism in the sixth century, most famously at Monte Cassino, southeast of Rome, wrote a document known as the Rule that remains their guide to this day.
They retire at 8 pm to separate cells and rise at 3:15 am, when they gather in silence to pray.
And even after the morning mass, throughout much of their demanding day, they are discouraged from speaking. Almost everything the Trappist does takes place in silence a€” is pressed close by its weight, or opens out onto that expanse, depending on how you look at it.
My hearing tests were normal and the ENT doesn't know what it is, guessing maybe nerve damage. Alberic remarked at one point that while it is often said that prostitution is the oldest profession, he believes that monks were around before there were prostitutes.
I'd had a hectic, noisy winter in the city a€” medically harrowing, filled with bills, the hassles of insurance claims, technology fiascos, and preschool worries.
I'd tried to go to a Zen retreat in New England that taught the breath- and silence-based meditation practice of vipassana, only to be told at the last moment that although I could come and sit silently with the retreatants, the guesthouse itself was overbooked and I'd have to stay in a bed-and-breakfast in town.
The thought of beginning my daily practice over fussy French toast in a dining room packed with antiquers a€” where tasteful classical music would be piped in to glaze over the gaps in conversation a€” didn't conduce to inner quiet. Just because we have a nagging sense that silence is good for us doesn't make it any easier to actually commit to.
Beyond the idea of wanting to learn something about the Trappist path and get away from the noise in my own life, I was hoping to find some truth in the silence of the monastery that I could take back to New York.
I'd packed a stack of books and volumes of photocopied pages representing different theological and philosophical traditions a€” everything from Martin Heidegger and Max Picard to kabbalistic disquisitions, an array of Buddhist tracts, and enough Christian monastic literature to envelop a monk from tonsure to toe.
I am going to try going into an elevator and some of these things to gently try to push things along and see if this helps-thank you for the tip.



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