The term soundscape was first coined in the late 1960s and is a broad term encompassing our acoustic environment. So anything we can hear – nature, human made sounds, music, the works.
Often when we think of making changes to improve our sense of well being nutrition, exercise and work life balance are likely to spring to mind. But sound also effects well being.
Sometimes you can’t control your acoustic environment. The “sound” (rabble?) of 30 13 year olds entering a classroom for instance is a unique collection of sounds that triggers a range of emotions.
But within our work place and home, we do have some control over sound. At work, we have silent times for reading and thinking and processing. We also have times of animated discussion for generating ideas. When we’re getting creative, I play music in the background and sometimes allow students to listen to their own music when writing.
At home, we can control the volume on the TV or whether to have it on at all. We can put rules in place about yellling at each other from one end of the house to other (a pet hate). We can choose to put music on when cooking, writing, making and we can choose the type of music. Up beat on the way to work, loud and in your face on the drive home and Calm and soothing at the end of a busy day!
I’m lucky to live by the sea. We go to sleep most nights with the sound of waves crashing or ebbing on the beach, depending on the tides. It’s a sound that helps me to rest, relax and eventually sleep. Being close to the ocean is one of the reasons we bought our home. It’s extremely grounding (if you’re into horoscopes, yup a Cancerian) and I miss it like crazy when we venture inland.
If you find your acoustic environment is not supporting your well being, you could try one of the many apps around (yes, there really is an app for everything):
- White Noise – this app features everything from light rain to city. You can mix sounds and create a personalised soundscape. Avaiable on the App Store and Google Play.
- Noizio – 15 soundscapes including coffee house and summer night. Available on the App Store.
- Rain Rain – 26 loops to listen to and like the previous two apps, allows you to mix your own personalised soundscape. This one also has a sleep timer so you can set it to play as you drift off....
- Coffitivity – more ambient sounds from around the globe. Tune into Paris paradise or Brazil bistro. Cheap travel! Available from Google Play and the App Store.