SSomewhere along a long and zigzag evolutionary path, a group of genes gathered in a conference room and decided that perhaps the best thing for human existence was for us to always be receptive to everything. sounds around you. Thus, the ear was born. Unlike their neighbors who are eyes, ears do not have an on/off option. This is a great safety feature if you’re living in a cave surrounded by predators, but it’s been hit by a world where you’re more likely to find yourself trying to sleep through the bells. Neighbor’s car alarm at 1am
The continuum with which we experience sound even without knowing it has given it a preeminent place in the flow of information we use to make sense of the world around us. It also impacts the world inside us: our mental and physical health. For example, nowadays many of us live in urban areas where there is the sound of traffic, airplanes, crowded sidewalks, industrial machinery, etc. combined into a sound salad that has been negatively associated not only with measures of mental health but also with more physical health consequences. Small-scale studies have followed Traffic noise worsens cancer outcomes and lower birth weightand Long-term noise exposure causes male infertility. Although much of the research on this crowded urban acoustic landscape includes the effects of often-related air pollution and other factors, general evidence suggests that what we hear is hurting us. strong enough to report 2022 United Nations report listed noise pollution as the top threat to the environment and health.
Some ideas of this auditory refuge from constant noise have become popular online and in academic circles. One is the practice of forest bathing, or spending time mindful and focused on the senses in nature. Forest bathing involves all the senses, and the practice’s auditory elements are key to its healing powers — as is the absence of more common modern noises. far from neutral we.
Chorong Song, an assistant professor at Korea’s Kongju National University, sees the clinical adaptation of forest and nature bathing therapy as a response to human self-separation from the natural world. “Less than 0.01% of our history has been spent in the modern environment,” she explains. “The gap between the natural and highly urbanized and man-made environments may be the root cause of ‘stress states’ in modern humans.” Most studies on naturopathy suggest see similar evolutionary reasons for our seemingly innate ability to be soothed by being outdoors.
In 2019, Song conducted a study related to play high quality forest sounds and urban sounds for the participants, analyze the Japanese riverbed and the Tokyo intersection as inputs for a single meaning. Her team found that forest sounds not only lead to feelings of well-being, but also reduced heart rate and other physiological indicators of relaxation. The study of specific natural sounds, such as birdsong or the sound of water, makes it difficult to confirm whether they are valid independently. A separate study from October found that seeing and hearing birds resulted in a day-long increase in self-reported measures of happiness and positive mood, both for healthy participants and those with depression . Water sounds, meanwhile, seems to keep his promise for urban planners and developers looking to reduce the impact of noisy cities.
Manage your soundscape
There are several aspects of our personal acoustic space that we can control, no matter where we live. For example, music has been shown to have an impact on emotional well-being. Anyone who has been through a breakup or loss knows how difficult it can be to put on a Sad Playlist (we know you have one) and/or lose yourself in lyrical despair. and/or how emotional. But it is the subtlety of the composition that often arouses the most emotion. While the lyrics are more consciously interpreted by your working memory—the same aspect of the mind you might use when reading a poem—the instrumental elements of a song are automatically decoded by the brain in more mysterious ways. Experts have made a useful comparison to explain what we know: the ability to follow a series of notes and derive meaning from them is governed by Same neural mechanism makes the pages of the flipbook look like a seamless animation.
A given musical arrangement may contain a multitude of emotional features. Keys, Pitch, Rhythm, Melodies: Brain look for patterns use these factors and more, and measure them against our experience and understanding to determine what they mean. The emotional output of this process can vary greatly from person to person, culture to culture, and even from one era to another.
However, several studies on music and emotions reveal some consistent points about our relationship with sound. One learn from 2017 found that people who feel sad or happy when listening to certain musical instruments feel those emotions more deeply when they listen to music alone. The study authors suggest that attention and receptivity are key mediators in our emotional response to sound. It’s a concept that has been expanded upon by researchers like Tamara Goldsby, who study sound-based therapies. Goldsby is an expert and advocate of sound bathing, the practice of using selected, resonant, and repetitive sounds for therapeutic purposes.
The acoustic bath primarily uses an instrument commonly known as the Tibetan singing bowl (which, as historians note, is not actually of Tibetan origin but an American mythological invention). The bowls are metal and sometimes colorful, and when rubbed with a mallet produce different pitches depending on their size. During his sessions with his patients, Goldsby uses the bowl along with other vibrating instruments such as gongs and didgeridoos.
Through vibration, sounds at certain frequencies provide a distinct somatic experience. Sometimes that’s not very pleasant, like when you get too close to a bass player’s amplifier during a crowded concert and it feels like your bones are trying to run away. At a more controlled dose, you can feel comfortable and relaxed, like lying down with a cat purring against your chest.
Meditation or mindfulness sessions with singing bowls have been shown in several studies to help slow heart rate and lower blood pressure more effective than practices involving silence. And unlike most music and instrument-based therapies, any benefit of vibroacoustics is accessible for members of the Deaf community.
But many studies on sound baths are over-dependence on self-reported qualitative measures, which Goldsby attributed to a lack of funding. Next-level research will still have to answer many of the basic unanswered sound bath questions with large sample sizes; namely, what can it actually do? Currently, one prominent theory is that vibrations can send listeners into a deeper brainwave state (like the state that occurs during sleep), caused by the physical movements of the sound waves or the interference of sound waves. interstitial repetition of sounds at different frequencies, a format known as binaural beats.
Binaural beats are an auditory illusion—the ear’s version of staring at a black dot in the center of the screen and seeing a color that isn’t really there. Through the headset, two different low-frequency sounds are played simultaneously, one in each ear. The brain, always a monster of patterns and order, tries to harmonize two sounds, and in doing so becomes convinced that it is hearing a third sound at the right frequency. the difference in frequency between the two original sounds. yes strong evidence that listening to binaural beats can enhance certain brain waves, increase electrical activity, and lead to neurological benefits. Across the different frequencies used, binaural beats show small but marked effects on working memory, creation, thoughtful, reduce stressand even sleep. If you’ve ever listened to meditation music, you’ve probably caught binaural beats without even realizing it.
One of the most famous pieces of music that uses binaural beats is “Weightless,” which is scientifically designed. “the most relaxing song in the world.” The eight-minute tune, which sounds like luxurious spa music, has become the headliner for the pounding, pounding beats layered beneath the song’s main flow and bass notes, and the fact that the trio captures the music. British vocalist Marconi Union wrote it with the help of a sound therapist. . More than a decade later, in April 2022, outside research validated the creators’ claim that simply listening to the song can slow down one’s heart rate.
Sound will always have its limits, but growing evidence points to a future in which it will play a role in treatments for Tinnitus, lost memory, pain, and more. But there’s more reason than disease prevention to consider how your personal sound might affect you (and your happiness) now. Noise pollution is a public health problem that experts are struggle to solveAnd wearing noise-cancelling headphones 24/7 isn’t always practical or wise. Instead of stressing about a busy commute or a noisy supermarket, think about how you can use sound in spaces you have control over, no matter how small. Maybe that means turning on quiet music instead of podcasts while cooking dinner. Maybe it means a midday trip to the office bathroom to close your eyes and play some bird sounds. Perhaps it even means finding solace in the most unfamiliar soundscape: silence.
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