Not all meditation practices are silent, but those that are might offer a special health benefit that is simply the silence itself.
Scientists and doctors have known for decades that loud noises are dangerous, and can cause hearing loss, both in the short- and long-term. But how about the everyday racket, the sounds of heating systems, car engines, hallway conversations, and YouTube songs; Does steady exposure to “noise” affect our health? Is there anything to be gained by lowering the volume, perhaps even spending part of the day in silence?
Here are some links to explore on this topic:
“Silence, Please” is one of the most popular themes used by VisitFinland.com to attract tourists. It seems some people crave silence. But what is silence? Is it just the absence of sound? Or is it something tangible in its own right? It turns out teams of scientists have been trying to address this question in the ways that scientists often do: they have looked at patterns of brain activity to determine how brains differentiate silence from louder alternatives. “This is Your Brain on Silence” by Daniel Gross (Nautilus, 7 July 2016) reports on some of this research. Be prepared for surprises.