There is a tribe in South Sudan which is called the Mabaan Tribe and they are known as a quiet and peaceful people. They don’t use guns or drums, unlike neighbouring tribes, and are famous for their ability to listen. An American study on them was made in the 1960’s by Samuel Rosen.  It was discovered that the hearing of Mabaan tribe members at the age of 70 was superior to that of Americans in their twenties.    2 Mabaans standing 300 ft apart to each other could carry on a conversation in soft voices, with their backs.  Their extraordinary preservation of hearing was partly due to their low-fat diet and mainly that they lived in such a quiet environment. The human ear has not evolved yet to cope with the noise that it is subjected too.

According to the UN, ten years ago humanity passed a significant threshold. In 2008, for the first time, the world’s population was evenly split between urban and rural areas. Since then the urban population has outstripped the rural populations.  There were more than 400 cities over 1 million and 19 over 10 million. More developed nations were about 74 percent urban, while 44 percent of residents of less developed countries lived in urban areas.  With the majority of humankind now living in cities in much noisier environments their will an increased deterioration in our hearing.  In cities, this is due to the imbalance in our environment between noise and silence – rapidly increasing the aging process of our complex ears.

Noise pollution is becoming a significant problem and not just in urban areas. Our oceans are becoming noisier – with the phenomenon of mass whale beaching possibly due to the increased noises from bigger boats, more sea traffic, offshore wind farms etc. There seems to be a growing interest in promoting silence.  It is also a justice matter as it is often the poorest who are most affected by noise pollution.