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Tag: disability

So yesterday I talked about the ubiquity of man made radiation from electronic devices and how it is going to probably have negative long range health effects.  Today I am going to throw some gas on that fire!

One of the biggest health threats that we have is even more wide reaching and insidious: noise pollution.  Think about it for a moment: if you live in “The City That Never Sleeps”, do you ever really get to?  The constant noise from vehicles and other machines, from people, from the buildings (heating, cooling, refridgerators, general “white noise”) accumulate to create a background noise level that is significantly higher than what we used to have, and is unescapable in the urban areas.  How does this effect us?

One known side effect of the noise pollution is the damage to the inner ear, often from extremely loud noises (think Pete Townsend of the Who or James Hetfield from Metallica).  This tinnitus can cause problems ranging from headaches to dizziness to nausea.  So your rock n roll lifestyle can lead essentially to a constant hangover!

Another is sleep disruption.  Not being able to properly cycle in sleep has been shown to have negative psychological effects, and to compound problems with ADD and ADHD.  How much of our society is now on mind altering drugs?  How many less could it be if people actually got some peace and quiet?

This sleep interruption also means that the body can not physically repair itself the way it should.  This makes you more susceptable to diseases from the flu to Black Death (ok, I just wanted to use the word “Bubonic Plague”).  It also makes you react worse to allergies, and lengthens recovery time to illnesses and injuries of all forms while generally weakening the body.  Not on the list of good things.  Makes all forms of disability due to illness worse.

And even in the hinterlands there is the issue of noise pollution.  Highways may have sound barriers in some areas, but they still produce noise.  Trains rumble down the tracks.  Stupid refrigerator turns on in the middle of the night and wakes me up.  When I was a kid (in addition to learning to parallel park with a cow because we didn’t have sidewalks nor people parking on side of road), I would go to sleep listening to the crickets.  Now the only one I hear is Jimminy when my kids are watching Disney way too loud.

So what do we do?  Sound proof our houses and try to live in isolation chambers (a cross between Michal Jackson and Affleck’s Daredevil?  Scary thought!)?  Move to monasteries on the top of mountains and take a vow of silence?  Not very likely.  But we can take the time to try to reduce the noise levels internal to our homes, and our heads.  Turn the iPod down from top volume (only Spinal Tap should be on 11).  Unplug electronics to reduce the white noise (and electromagnetic radiation per yesterday’s post.  Also reduces energy consumption, thus saving money too.), and take the time to take some deep breathes as it will quiet your mind.  Unfortunately the fact that there are 7 BILLION people and the associated infrastructure makes this one difficult to counteract, but you can still takes some little steps to not compound the problem.


May 1

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, or DIAM.  It is meant to promote an understanding of the realities of disability planning, as opposed to the common myths.  And no, I am not going to go all “Myth Busters” and wrap someone in bubble wrap and drop them off a building to see if the can actually servive, even if it would be cool to do so.

One of the major reasons that disability planning is so much more important than it was even a decade ago is because of science.  That which used to kill us doesn’t anymore.  Heart attacks were once certain death, now peoplw have multiple ones like they do trophy wives.  Cancer is no longer a death sentence.  Congresswoman Giffords wouldn’t have been alive if she went through what she did two decades ago. 

And medical science just keeps getting better.  So things that once killed people ninety percent  of  the time “just” leave them disabled for months or years now.  And that is part of the reason Disability Insurance is so critical: is your nice banker going to say “Gee Phil, glad your chemo is going well.  Because I’m such a stand up guy and the bank has too much money, we’re going to pay for your mortgage until you get back on your feet.”?  Not on this plane of reality.

So Disability Insurance is there to help fill the cash void left because the doctors are doing a better job than what they used to, leaving more people alive but unable to care for themselvves or generate income.  And quite frankly I am glad for their medical advances, because it means some people I care for are still here.  And ecause of proper disability planning they can worry about getting better, not whether they can pay their mortgage.

I am working on an article that will lay out that purchasing Disability Insurance is a Pascal Wager online pharmacy without a prescription for a young professional: a bet with low outlay and decent probability that yields a disproportional payoff.