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10 Things You Didn't Know About Sound

10 Things You Didn't Know About Sound

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Published by sparky19

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: sparky19 on Nov 03, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Editor's note: TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makesavailable through talks posted on its website. Julian Treasure, the author of "Sound Business," ischairman of UK-based audio branding specialist The Sound Agency and an international speaker onsound's effects on people, on business and on society.(CNN) --Most of us have become so used to suppressing noise that we don't think much about whatwe're hearing, or about how we listen. Yet our well-being is now being seriously damaged by modernsound. Here are 10 things about sound and health that you may not know:1.) You are a chord. This is obvious from physics, though it's admittedly somewhat metaphorical to callthe combined rhythms and vibrations within a human being a chord, which we usually understand to bean aesthetically pleasant audible collection of tones. But "the fundamental characteristic of nature isperiodic functioning in frequency, or musical pitch," according to C.T. Eagle. Matter is vibrating energy;therefore, we are a collection of vibrations of many kinds, which can be considered a chord.2.) One definition of health may be that that chord is in complete harmony. The World HealthOrganization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and notmerely the absence of disease or infirmity" which opens at least three dimensions to the concept. On aphilosophical level, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Confucius all wrote at length about the relationshipbetween harmony, music and health (both social and physical). Here's Socrates: "Rhythm and harmonyfind their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, andmaking the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful."3.) We see one octave; we hear ten. An octave is a doubling in frequency. The visual spectrum infrequency terms is 400-790 THz, so it's just under one octave. Humans with great hearing can hear from20 Hz to 20 KHz, which is ten octaves.4.) We adopt listening positions. Listening positions are a useful set of perspectives that can help peopleto be more conscious and effective in communication --because expert listening can be just as powerfulas speaking. For example, men typically adopt a reductive listening position, listening for something,often a point or solution.Women, by contrast, typically adopt an expansive listening position, enjoying the journey, going withthe flow. When unconscious, this mismatch causes a lot of arguments.Other listening positions include judgmental (or critical), active (or reflective), passive (or meditative)and so on. Some are well known and widely used; for example, active listening is trained into manytherapists, counselors and educators.5.) Noise harms and even kills. There is now wealth of evidence about the harmful effect of noise, andyet most people still consider noise a local matter, not the major global issue it has become.According to a 1999 U.S. Census report, Americans named noise as the number one problem inneighborhoods. Of the households surveyed, 11.3 percent stated that street or traffic noise wasbothersome, and 4.4 percent said it was so bad that they wanted to move. More Americans arebothered by noise than by crime, odors and other problems listed under "other bothersome conditions."TED.com: Music is medicine, music is sanity
10 things you didn't know about sound
Wednesday, November 03, 201012:38 PM
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The European Union says: "Around 20% of the Union's population or close on 80 million people sufferfrom noise levels that scientists and health experts consider to be unacceptable, where most peoplebecome annoyed, where sleep is disturbed and where adverse health effects are to be feared. Anadditional 170 million citizens are living in so-called 'grey areas' where the noise levels are such to causeserious annoyance during the daytime."The World Health Organization says: "Traffic noise alone is harming the health of almost every thirdperson in the WHO European Region. One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to sound levels at nightthat could significantly damage health."The WHO is also the source for the startling statistic about noise killing 200,000 people a year. Itsfindings (LARES report) estimate that 3 percent of deaths from ischemic heart disease result from long-term exposure to noise. With 7 million deaths a year globally, that means 210,000 people are dying of noise every year.TED.com: Jose Abreu on kids transformed by musicThe cost of noise to society is astronomical. The EU again: "Present economic estimates of the annualdamage in the EU due to environmental noise range from EUR 13 billion to 38 billion. Elements thatcontribute are a reduction of housing prices, medical costs, reduced possibilities of land use and cost of lost labour days." (Future Noise Policy European Commission Green Paper 1996).Then there is the effect of noise on social behavior. The U.S. report "Noise and its effects"(Administrative Conference of the United States, Alice Suter, 1991) says: "Even moderate noise levelscan increase anxiety, decrease the incidence of helping behavior, and increase the risk of hostilebehavior in experimental subjects. These effects may, to some extent, help explain the"dehumanization" of today's urban environment."Perhaps Confucius and Socrates have a point.6.) Schizophonia is unhealthy. "Schizophonia" describes a state where what you hear and what you seeare unrelated. The word was coined by the great Canadian audiologist Murray Schafer and was intendedto communicate unhealthiness. Schafer explains: "I coined the term schizophonia intending it to be anervous word. Related to schizophrenia, I wanted it to convey the same sense of aberration and drama."My assertion that continual schizophonia is unhealthy is a hypothesis that science could and should test,both at personal and also a social level. You have only to consider the bizarre jollity of train carriagesnow --full of lively conversation but none of it with anyone else in the carriage --to entertain thepossibility that this is somehow unnatural. Old-style silence at least had the virtue of being an honestlack of connection with those around us. Now we ignore our neighbors, merrily discussing intimatedetails of our lives as if the people around us simply don't exist. Surely this is not a positive socialphenomenon.7. Compressed music makes you tired. However clever the technology and the psychoacousticalgorithms applied, there are many issues with data compression of music, as discussed in this excellentarticle by Robert Harley back in 1991. My assertion that listening to highly compressed music makespeople tired and irritable is based on personal and anecdotal experience -again it's one that I hope willbe tested by researchers.8. Headphone abuse is creating deaf kids. Over 19 percent of American 12 to 19 years old exhibitedsome hearing loss in 2005-2006, an increase of almost 5 percent since 1988-94 (according to a study inthe Journal of the American Medical Association by Josef Shargorodsky et al, reported with comments
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