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Part 2 Healing Sounds: Top 5 Surprising Ways Sound Impacts Us

March 11, 2022

Part 2 Healing Sounds: Top 5 Surprising Ways Sound Impacts Us

Healing Sounds Part 2: Top 5 Surprising Ways Sound Impacts Us

Have you ever gotten a headache from sounds that were way too loud?

According to the European Environment Agency, about 10,000 people have negative health consequences, per year, due to excessive noise!

On the contrary, Healthlineresearch shows that music therapy is better than medicines for coping with anxiety, pain, and even stabilizing heartbeats.

Sound can either be nerve-wracking or heart-warming. It's based on what you’re listening to.

In this article, we'll talk about the physiological, psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and spiritual effects of sound.

Ready? Let’s get the beats rolling!

How Does Sound Affect Our Bodies, Emotions, Minds, Behavior, And Spirit?

In the last post, we learned how sound moves four times faster through water, especially in bodies made primarily of water, like humans.

But how does that aspect of sound translate to physical and spiritual reactions?

Physiological

Light travels faster than sound, but we tend to get more scared of sudden sounds than of sudden light.

That’s because hearing is our primary sense of warning.

When you hear a sudden sound, your brain actually starts a stress response where it secretes cortisol that spikes your heart rate and blood pressure. In turn, your breathing rate also shoots up. You might have felt this when someone yelled at you suddenly. 

These reactions result from our body's innate intelligence to register sound as a threat, in the last hundred thousand years of our evolution. That’s why sudden sounds automatically trigger a fight or flight response in us today. It's the automatic protection response. 

Even if you know there’s no threat to you, when a glass cracks or the owl hoots, the sounds might quickly get under your skin or creep you out.

That’s actually why industrial laborers who work around loud noises are more susceptible to headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, and weakness.

On top of it, the long-term effects of noise pollution can reduce REM sleep.REM is a phase of deep sleep where your body repairs the damages that happened throughout the day. 

Besides sleep disturbances, long-term exposure to sound often affects the immune system, heart and other crucial bodily functions. 

Psychological

The human brain is always supervising the sensory data from ears, eyes, skin, and smell. But do you know the brain continues to do this work even when we’re asleep?

That explains why you wake up with a shock to abrupt alarm noises. 

Think of a song that always makes you feel happy. 

Go ahead and play that song in the background, right now, while we finish talking about the impacts of sound via this post (Mine’s Kokomo by Beach Boys; so, what’s yours?)

It's evident that music can change our moods.

But is it just music that can do that? Not at all!

For starters, calming birdsongs in the morning are always relaxing. At the same time, the wild cawing of crows simply makes us wonder about doomsday.

Likewise, there are soothing sounds like humming, singing bowls, gongs, bells, chants, etcetera that calms you when you’re drowning in bouts of stress.

Noise pollution can trigger stressful responses  and cause anxiety. When you’re repeatedly exposed to such stressful noises, your sensitivity to stress drastically rises.

If this is you, perpetual irritability, constant anger, frustration, and depression may be the early signs. 

A specific technique called the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) works on psychological disorders with sound balancing. The treatment uses classical music with images to induce positive growth and transformation.

We talked about industrial workers who suffered from physical problems from noise exposure earlier, but there’s more to it. Many of them also end up getting mood swings and anxiety disorders  in the long run due to the same.

Shocking, right?

Cognitive

Cognitive reactions relate to your conscious thoughts, reasoning, recollection, and beliefs.

Let's look at how sound impairs and enhances our cognitive abilities.

For starters, our productivity in the office and at home are dependent on the sounds in our vicinity. For instance, many students listen to loud music while finishing their work. But even if they study for longer hours, loud music will only degrade their studying quality over time.

This is theoretically proven by the Mozart Effect.It says listening to classical music like Mozart daily can enhance reasoning abilities. That’s also because loud music often interferes with one’s own internal voice.

What do you think is the most distracting sound in the world?

If you said the Human Sound, you’re absolutely right!

It's okay if you didn’t. Join me in a little thought experiment...

There's someone sitting next to your table at a cafe and talking constantly, it’s impossible to shut off their sounds, right?

Blame our anatomy for not having earlids because other people’s sounds are a huge pain point for productivity unless you’re talking TO/WITH  them.

The truth is that noises can lead to oxidative stress in the brain, leading to cognitive impairment. You may feel  fatiguedand disoriented  in such a case. 

Noise can also negatively impact the autonomic nervous system (the part of the brain that manages involuntary actions like heartbeats). It can lead to learning defects, attention deficit disorder, and communication problems  in kids and adults.

That’s also why a specific music therapy called the Nordoff-Robbins approach successfully works on learning problems, autism disorder, dementia, and developmental conditions.

Behavioral

What do you do when you hear a sudden sound?  Most of us jerk away from the source and even actively push ourselves towards soothing sounds. That clearly explains the effects of comforting and agitating sounds on our behavior.

Noisy surroundings make a large number of us anti-social, less responsive, less reactive, and even helpless.

When you dig into behavioral effects, you may get irritated, aggressive, or rude when someone yells or shouts.

In the same way, it’s easy to get scared, nervous, or cautious if you hear someone screaming.

On the flip side, you might feel tranquil or relaxed when you hear a soothing hymn, bird sounds, or the sound of the stream.

I feel immediately restless and clumsy when surrounded by stressful noises and sad when I hear someone else crying.

Spiritual

Just as sound affects our bodies, minds, emotions, and behaviors, it also strongly impacts our spirit. We’ve explained it in-depth in our article about the chakra connection of singing bowls

That’s also why certain frequencies and musical notes are associated with specific chakras.

Chakra

Frequency in Hz

Musical Note

Root

432

C

Sacral

480

D

Solar Plexus

528

E

Heart

594

F

Throat

672

G

Third Eye

720

A

Crown

768

B

Now that you understand playing singing bowls based on the musical notes and the above frequencies helps balance specific chakras. Sounds simple right? I promise it is!

Final Thoughts

Now you know why sound can be your ally or foe, depending on its frequency. 

Good and bad sounds are all around us. If you have a startling alarm sound on your phone or clock, I advise you to switch it to something soothing.

Waking every day with fear is certainly not an excellent way to start your day.

You should use sound positively to start and end your day, and singing bowls can help with just that!

Keep going and read on in Part 3: Therapeutic Uses of Sound



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