Sound Health In 8 Steps
Because everything is vibrating all the time, we can say that the world is made up of sound. Our bodies are constantly vibrating so you can think of yourself as being a musical chord and one definition of health may be that your chord should be in complete harmony.
Your ears can hear up to 10 octaves and are always on. They have no earlid like an eye, they work even when you sleep. However, your ears are not made for hearing, but for listening. The difference between the two is that hearing is a passive action where listening is an active skill. You have to work at it – it’s a relationship you have with sound. Yet, many of us have never been taught how to listen.
There are two ways in which you can listen. The first way is reductive listening, or a listening “for”. This way reduces everything down to what’s relevant and discards everything that’s irrelevant. Men typically listen like this. It can be reduced to: He’s hearing “He’s got this problem” and he answers “Here’s your solution. Next.”
Women typically listen expansively, or listens “with”. This type of listening enjoys the journey with no specific destination in mind. They generally face each other, make eye contact and can both talk at the same time.
The problem with listening is that much of what we hear is just noise and it surrounds us all the time. This type of noise (according to the European Union) reduces the health and quality of life of a quarter of the population of Europe. Two percent of the population of Europe (16 million people) are having their sleep disrupted by this constant noise. It kills 200 000 people a year in Europe. It’s a much bigger problem than people realise.
When you were small and a noise was bothering you, you’d stick your fingers in your ears. You can still do that without looking like silly by using headphones. One should, however, be careful in using headphones as this can cause three big health issues. The first issue was coined by Murray Schafer as “schizophonia”. It is when you experience a dislocation between what you see and what you hear. So when wearing headphones you are listening to people and things which you cannot see and which are not present. This confuses and tires out your brain.
The second problem with headphones is music compression. To minimise file size we cut about 98% of the information out of the music. Your brain now has to make up the difference and imagine the rest of the music. This tires you out and makes you irritable.
The third problem with headphones is that they can cause noise-induced hearing disorder. In America, 61% of college freshmen and about 16% of teenagers suffer from damaged hearing as a result of headphone abuse.
So how do you protect your ears?
If you are using headphones, buy the best ones you can afford because quality means that you can get the quality of the sound without turning the volume up too loud. If you cannot hear somebody talking to you in a loud voice, the headphones are too loud. And if you cannot use your headphones at that time, move away from the bad noise or stick your fingers in your ears.
Do not only avoid bad noise, seek out good noise. Nature sounds (wind, water, birds) are composed of individual random events, all of them healthy sounds that have evolved over the years. Look for these sounds – they are good for you.
With digital technology, you can now create your own soundscapes. Combine a foreground sound with a background sound making sure to keep a good balance between the two.
Now, for 8 ways that sound can improve your health:
1. Ultrasound: used in physical therapy and now also to treat cancer
2. Lithotripsy: pulverises stones in the body to prevent having to operate
3. Sound therapy or healing: there are great things being done in this field like treating autism, dementia and various other conditions.
4. Music: listening to music is good for you if it is made with good intention. Devotional music, classical music etc.
5. Listen consciously: it will add a new dimension to your life
6. Create some sort of sound: the voice is an instrument available to everybody. Get trained, learn to sing or play an instrument. Musicians have bigger brains.
7. Protect your ears by designing soundscapes for yourself
8. Start speaking up when people bombard you with noise that can harm your ears
I hope you enjoyed this and will take these easy steps to better sound health so join us for some healthy pilates.