Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2022

Silence is at an all-time premium in this day and age. In fact, ninety percent of children are expected never to experience natural silence in their lives, and 97 percent of Americans are exposed regularly to highway and air traffic noise. It is so pervasive that many hardly notice it anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK.

Exposure to incessant noise has a toll. It can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, tinnitus, and low birth weight. It harms wildlife as well, driving away bird populations and causing them to become malnourished because they cannot hear well enough to communicate or hunt. One man is on a mission to change this, or at least to create oases of silence where people have the opportunity to escape the noise and relearn the value of quiet.

That man is Gordon Hempton, and he’s an American acoustic ecologist who has spent years traveling the globe in search of the rarest sounds, which can only be fully appreciated in the absence of manmade noise. He created One Square Inch of Silence, a tiny stone cairn in Washington’s Olympic National Park, which he monitored for years while trying to keep the sounds of the world at bay. Now he has embarked on another project called Quiet Parks International (QPI), which has the ambitious goal of identifying and certifying some of the quietest places on Earth in an effort to preserve them for future generations.

The very first quiet park just attained certification in April 2019 in Zabalo, Ecuador—and more are expected to follow. According to Hempton, spending time in these silent places changes a person profoundly. He says it takes a week for a person to stop feeling disoriented by the silence, then the brain starts to develop new neural pathways to hear things it couldn’t before. And with that, time seems to slow down.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

The many benefits of cultivating intergenerational friendships

Humans tend to gravitate towards or become friends with people our age due to our experiences in school and work. As we age together ...

Read More

These animals socially distance themselves too during times of illness

While it may feel unnatural for us to engage in social distancing, the sacrifices we've made have deep roots in the animal kingdom. From ...

Read More

California to produce its own generic drugs to take down big pharma

Whereas one vial of insulin costs about $30 in Canada, that same vial can go for as much as $450 in the US. This ...

Read More

Diagnosing hearing loss with a simple speech test

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.5 billion people live with some degree of hearing loss. Currently, to test the severity of ...

Read More