Effect of Sound

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 There are, I think, many comforts in this world. Some of them come in the form of smells or sensations or familiar things. Recently, I have found myself increasingly comforted by the sound of rain or running water. There is something about the sporadic nature of its falling or perhaps it is something else. Either way, it has drawn my awareness to the effect that sounds, perhaps even specific sounds can have on our emotions. Perhaps the rise in videos such as ASMR should have alerted me to this fact should have alerted me to this particular fact before but it was the sound of rain that made me ask the question why. 

 When looking into this, one thing I came across was that sound does not only have a calming effect on emotions but can have a wide range of effects that are not limited to that of calming an individual. A study of nine females, all aged twenty-two years old, measured the effect of different sounds on levels of stress. The things they tested included, silence, wrap, ASMR, and relaxing forests. When presented with the wrap music, each of the measures that were being used to measure the levels of stress indicated the wrap made them stressed during the listening of the music, and for some of the levels of measurement, this remained on as an effect after the stressor had been stopped. This measure is, however, not much higher than the control condition of silence, while occasionally the soothing sounds would have a more distinct difference and ASMR in a majority of the tests had a more marked difference. 

There has been some look into the calming effect of sound and what the best calming sounds could potentially be. Some research would suggest that the most calming of sounds are those that are often found in nature. This includes the sounds of leaves in the wind or birds singing or the running of rivers. These kinds of sounds actually have an effect on our physiology when we hear them by working on the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for fight or flight and rest and digest. These ‘green’ sounds affect these processes and cause a person to calm down. Incidentally, it was those who felt the greatest levels of stress that felt the greatest effect from the nature sounds, while those who experience lower baseline levels of stress felt less of an effect from the sounds. 

The world around us provides us with many things but this seems to suggest that it also provides us the tools that we may use in order to calm ourselves in times of fear. Or perhaps we have learned to accept nature as a calming presence in the world that we allow to influence us positively. We are each reacting to each stimulus around us and allowing it to affect us, whether or not we are aware of the effect that this has on us as we each go about our days. 



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1 Comment

  • October 6, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    There’s rain and thunder outside my window right now and I’d never thought much before about why that sound was calming. You’ve given me something new to consider!


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