Quick—what is the biggest environmental nuisance facing Europe? Air pollution? Global warming? Contaminated rivers and streams? Acid rain?
The World Health Organization, in 2009, declared noise “the biggest environmental nuisance facing Europe, and issued night noise guidelines calling on officials to limit exposure to below 40 decibels.”
According to an article from the McClatchy-Tribune, noise is becoming not only a nuisance but a health threat as well. Of course, there is the obvious risk of hearing loss, and estimates are that 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have some kind of hearing loss due to noise exposure. Hearing loss begins at continuous decibel levels above 85. Rock concerts reach levels of 110-140. (Pain threshold is about 125.)
But people bombarded by noise also have higher risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, sleeplessness, irritability, and poor work and school performance. Noise pollution is even forcing residents to pack up and move to quieter places to live.
All of this shows the enduring wisdom of God’s Word.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”—Psalm 46:10
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”—Jesus (Matthew 6:31)
Noise is not just a threat to our physical health, but also to our spiritual health. How can we commune with God when we are surrounded by distractions? How can we hear God’s voice amidst the noise of the world?
If you live in a quiet neighborhood, or in a peaceful rural area, give thanks. If you reside next to a highway, or train tracks, or in a busy metropolitan area, take time each day to close yourself from the noise. You owe it to your spiritual—and physical—health to turn down the noise.