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The Heart Of Noise Induced Hearing Loss

1670 words - 7 pages

“That’s one thing I hate! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!” This excerpt from Theodor Geisel’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas portrays the distaste many people share for strident sounds. Noise, however, is something that a society is unable to control due to its population and continuous construction work in order to maintain a certain standard of living. When a society is accustomed to the loud sounds it produces on a daily basis, people often forget the effects of being exposed to this aspect of society over time. Analogously, the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad exams a society that is so compelled with obtaining the wealth in an underdeveloped country that they forget what it means to behave civilly. Although the path to recovery in both instances in virtually nonexistent, strides can be taken to avoid both instances. The Heart of Darkness explores a system of industrialism in which men emerge greedy and decadent, in like manner, those who surround themselves with strident sounds on a daily basis may find themselves victims of noise induced hearing loss.
The Russian harlequin in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness expresses a common habit amongst sailors to smoke when he exclaims to Marlow, “Smoke? Where’s a sailor that does not smoke?” (132), correspondingly, in today’s world it is common for daily surroundings to include loud, obnoxious sounds that can potentially damage ones hearing permanently. This type of hearing disability is frequently referred to as N.I.H.L (Noise-Induced Hearing Loss). “N.I.H.L can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense ‘impulse’ sound such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking shop” (“Noise-Induced Hearing Loss”). Tasks such as listening to loud music on a morning jog, or being a part of a booming commute on the way to work each day are just basic factors that can cause hearing loss over time. The risk, however, is present throughout the day and ceases to end alongside leisure time. Michael C McReynolds avers in an essay that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates the number of people who are exposed to unsafe noise levels while at work exceeds 30 million. As health codes in work places continue to change, more companies are consciously working to improve the wellbeing of their employees, a contrary situation than that during the Industrial Revolution. Francis Catlin observes in a journal “Hearing loss from noise has been recognized for centuries but was generally ignored until sometime after the industrial revolution.” During this time, workers were forced to complete tasks in less than conventional conditions, and issues went unaddressed as most lived the rest of their lives in discomfort. The promise of being able to provide for a family is best expressed in an extract from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness “The inner truth is hidden- luckily, luckily” (106). Today, only half of this...

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