The power of the human voice is what defines communication. This ‘sound’ affects us profoundly in various ways – it can inspire, motivate, discourage, or make you feel sad, disappointed, and fearful – depending on the person and the tone of their voice. Sound constantly affects your happiness and well-being and in a noisy, fast-paced world, one tries to unconsciously tone out the sound around us, possibly because much of it is unpleasant noise that can affect you mentally. Once you become more discerning of the sound in your surroundings, you can have more control over what you create and consume.
What are the different ways in which sound can affect you?
To understand how sound can affect you, one needs to understand it from different perspectives. Here are some of them:
Sound can affect you physically. It can have a positive or detrimental impact on your breathing, heart rate, hormone secretions, brain chemistry, and even your brain waves. Of course, your primary warning sense is hearing and your body will respond to any sudden or unexplained sound by triggering a physical fight or flight response, which is way faster than you respond to any visual input.
If you are repeatedly exposed to loud noise then it can cause hearing damage, while chronic exposure to moderate noise can raise your blood pressure or increase the rise of a stroke or heart attack. Meanwhile, calm and soothing sounds like the waves on the shore, the sound of a forest, or the pitter-patter of raindrops can act as an anti-depressant and even help you sleep.
Sounds like the music of your favourite band or the chirping of birds can positively influence your emotions and even induce a euphoric feeling inside you. There’s perhaps no human society or group in the world that doesn’t have some sort of music to uplift them and the singing of birds usually indicates that things are fine.
Unwanted conversations and background noise are the biggest inhibitors to clear thinking.
Imagine sitting at your workplace quietly, trying to craft a new business plan, writing an article, or trying to draft an important email. Suddenly, a bunch of people start talking animatedly and loudly. You try to use your headphones to shut out the noise, but it’s impossible – bits and bytes of their conversation seep inside. It’s impossible for you to focus on your work – your mind is programmed to decode what the conversation is about.
Socially acceptable behaviour is defined by the traits exhibited. If any shop, restaurant or mall plays blaring, cacophonous sounds unpleasant to our ears, we will tend to avoid that place. On the other hand, fast-paced music is a must in bars and gyms because that’s the clientele they are catering to. Different sounds are a result of different behavioural patterns and consumer choices.
How to create and experience beautiful spaces with pleasant acoustics
If you haven’t considered researching and investing on a space that sounds good – be it your workspace, living room, bed room, a meeting room etc – then it’s high time you did so. Following are the four factors you need to consider:
Tackling the acoustics
What to avoid – metal, glass, stone and plaster.
Why? These are hard surfaces and any room with stone floors and glass walls may look sleek and sophisticated but it will leave the room a confused mess with all the sound bouncing about.
Ever wondered why people in virtual meetings have difficulty listening to speakers? It’s because of all that noise. Move from hard to soft, and from sound reflectors to sound absorbers, like curtains and carpet floors.
Cutting out the noise
If you’re sitting in a room then close your eyes and focus hard.
Can you identify the noise sources?
AC, heaters, cooling fans, hum from your PC etc.
But the most annoying and distracting ones are the notifications from the mobile, ringing phones and message tones.
If you’re in a workplace with other people then you can get a place designated as a quiet zone to work on agree on a common rule for using phones and attending calls.
Get a high-quality sound system
If you want to create a high-quality environment, then you should get a high-end sound system. Whether you want to listen to music, watch movies, or make a public announcement to employees through the speakers, a top-quality sound system is a must. Broken sound and static noise from low-quality system ends in a low-quality environment.
Focus on the content
Remember this – even the best quality systems and the most efficiently designed rooms will just amplify noise, if noise is what you are creating.
Background music can be distracting while doing work or when trying to think, especially if it consists of musical lyrics etc. Nature sounds like the flowing of a brook, the twittering of birds, or the calm of the waves can be the best options to create healthier and productive personal and professional spaces.
You might not always be able to mitigate the sound around you, but you can certainly take steps to listen to better content to boost your health, happiness and productivity.
Sound affects various parts of our body in different ways, but perhaps the most important could be our mind. In order to keep your mind working and stay sharp, here are 7 Amazing Ways to Boost your Memory!