An Eye Opening – The Power Of Sound

An Eye Opening – The Power Of Sound

An Eye Opening – The Power Of Sound


[, Music ] sound changes. The way we behave, so we may be unconsciously very often will move away from unpleasant sound. We do have some sort of self-preservation instinct in this, and this is the thing retailers are just starting to understand.

Now, with the the sound agencies working with big shopping malls all over Europe, just about to start working with a very big retailer in America to improve the sound of shopping. Because what happens? If you make bad sound in a shop as people leave not instantly? But sooner than they would because you know here we are trying to go shopping again, wearing this hideous cacophony.

It’s, not pleasant for us, and we just think I’m tired right now. I’m gonna go home, so we leave and retailers know there’s. An equation here increased dwell time. They call it how long we stay in a shop.

You increase sales. You know there’s, an old adage. If you hang around the barber long enough, you get a haircut most people don’t understand how sound affects something. I know I choose with my eyes now not to look at certain things.

I’m, really choosy about not to watch the news. I don’t want to look at the advertisement with the model and the meter on it. But with my ears, I don’t, get that choice and what are some of the things people can kind of be aware of, of how sound is affecting them.

Well, the four ways sound effects is they’re, very powerful and, as you absolutely rightly say, we have no ear lids, so the ears are working all the time. Even while you sleep, your ears are working, you know.

If there’s, a strange sound in your house, while you’re asleep, you will wake up. So these things are never asleep. So the first way sound affects us is physiologically. So if I do that, that’s, a little shot of cortisol fight/flight hormone, it accelerates the heartbeat, your your hormones are causing fatty acids go into your bloodstream.

You’re ready to fight or to flee, and you’re. Not going to do either of those two things, so it’s, not very good for us. Okay, so physiologically sound changes, our bodies all the time right up to brain waves, in fact, which have been shown to be entrained by external sound.

So if you have a speaker, they’ve done tests on this, a good speaker in a room will have everybody’s. Brainwaves then trained with his brainwaves or her brainwaves by the end of the talk. Second way is psychologically moods, emotions and that’s obvious you just think of music.

We can use music to amplify mood like that, or we can put on a jolly tune to cheer us up. What we’re feeling, though so we use music to change. Moods birdsong is good for mood as well. We found we use it a lot in the sound agency in offices, particularly because it makes people feel secure.


It tends to be when the birds are singing. We’re safe. We’ve learned that over a long time, I think we’ve picked up over the last hundred thousand years. Yeah, even animals know that right totally birds have been here much much longer than we have.

They’ve, been here for millions of years, and we’ve been only around for a few hundred thousand, so we’ve grown up to birds, and you – and I know when the birds are singing normally, that’s a good sign if they suddenly stop that’s, not good.

That means something pretty bad is about to happen. Third way sound affects us is cognitively. Nobody can understand two people talking at the same time, so office noise is extremely distracting. If you’re trying to concentrate and noise, the office is dangerous.

It’s, actually bad for people to work in 65 decibels or more day after day. It creates stress, hormones and people become sick, physically sick. It also reduces helpfulness. It reduces sociability and it is incredibly fatiguing at the other end of the spectrum.

If you have a pin quiet office, which many offices are, you know, you get open-plan offices with a finance department working away. We’re. The turning of a piece of paper is a major event in the office.

You know Shh, you kind of reaction. Well, you ‘ Ve got 20 people in there. One person takes a phone call. They’re. Putting off all 19 other people immediately, because everybody can hear that phone call perfectly very intimidating for the person on the phone and very off-putting for everybody else.

So we do need some noise in open-plan. If we’re trying to work in that situation, we need some masking sound. I tend to prefer nature sound of some kind, because we’re very good at setting aside stochastic sound, which would be like gentle rainfall, or you know, gentle water flowing something.

Gentle like that. Birdsong is good. Stochastic means composed of many many random events which create a kind of pleasing wash so the difference between one birds, singing outside your window would drive you mad.

The dawn chorus is beautiful. One dripping tap terrible gentle rain on leaves outside the window. Everybody loves that one. So we can, we can mask sound, we can create privacy in offices. As long as the noise level isn’t too high, then you get somewhere between 45 and 55 decibels is about the sweet spot to to work in.

There are four registers that you can speak in now I can’t, do the top one which is called Mariah Carey can do. It are very, very, very high indeed, then, down below that you ‘ Ve got falsetto register, which is which is this one again, not terribly useful.

If you’re trying to speak powerfully to somebody, it’ll remind people of Monty Python. He’s, a very naughty boy. You know that’s, yeah that’s register. It’s used by a lot of singers. If you think about Coldplay or many many bands, they sing in falsetto register, so it’s popular for that, and it obviously hits us with certain emotion, probably here yeah.

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It is used by quite a lot of elderly lady, hello. Dear. How are you you know speaking here? It’s very soft and very unthreatening register too speaking. Then you are the modal register, which is where most of our speaking comes from and we can move our voice in the modal register.

So it’s very powerful to learn how to do that to move up from the nose voice or the head voice up here or the throat voice here and then move down into the chest voice here which resonates. Now. This is a big resonating chamber.

Again, these things are cultural, but there’s, an effect because we tend to vote for politicians with deeper voices. Research has shown that fact that’s, a fact. It’s, being quite a lot of blind double-blind studies now done, which show Keter is paribus.

I mean it’s, not the only thing in play. Nevertheless, of you, if you’re like this, we tend to go for the one with a deeper voice, because we associate deeper voices with authority and power, because big things are deeper, like elephants have a deep voice.

Mice have a very high voice. I’m thinking about the classic James Earl Jones. This is yeah yeah. You know that was our Vader right, yeah, oh yeah, Darth Vader, with yeah, absolutely or in a world. You know the this.

This kind of deep voices is taken to be authoritative, so if you want to speak powerfully, it worth practicing coming down here a little and then there’s a there’s. Another register, which again is a thing I rather regret coming into common parlance, a lot now it’s called vocal fry’and it sounds like this.

You know we’re, always stoked about this and again I’m very much a West Coast way of American right and you get largely females. I mean I did hear a man yesterday I was at a restaurant and there was a guy at the next table.

Who was doing this the whole time he was just speaking like this. The whole time you pick up everyone’s, voices yeah. I do unfortunately, but it’s, not very pleasant to listen to, and it robs you know the voice of all this richness and beauty.

I think that the voice has it’s, also not very good for your vocal cords to speak. Like right and it’s being lazy, and you said I think I heard one of your podcaster. You said it’s, a meme and it’s kind of lazy meme.

That people are just resulting too. They probably don’t know they’re doing it, but they’re robbing themselves and everyone around them from the richness of their voice. I think so yeah I think so I mean that’s, an opinion, but I I’m, not telling anybody how to behave.

I think you know if you’ve got a voice. Why not explore the full fullness and richness of it? It’s, a shame to limit it to a tiny, tiny part of us capabilities. Listening to me is even more important and after what’s, the point of speaking of nobody’s.

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Listening really, this thing is an extraordinary thing. I mean literally extraordinary it’s, not usual for the real listener. The person speaking is the only thing that matters in the world at that point, so realness thing is not yeah.

I’m. Listening to you, I am listening to you. Yeah no carry on that’s, not real listening real. This thing is absolutely focused: it’s, conscious because listening is an activity we tend to think of the ears as passive, because sound comes in here and we don’t do anything and it’s, not like looking where You’re, actually doing something and it’s, always on it’s.

Not passive hearing is passive. There’s, not much you can do about hearing I mean I can hear what’s going on around me all the time listening is making meaning from sound it’s. Despite deciding what I’m going to pay attention to and what it means to me, so we use our ears all the time.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time we’re, very lazy about I think listening is in danger, big time and from technology. Apart from anything else, with becoming very impatient, we’re in a multistream world.

Now I can’t, sit on a tube and read a book and listen to music at the same time. But I see people doing that all the time and I do think the human brain is very plastic and it that it adapts very quickly to things.

So I’m sure that kids are now able to take three inputs where I can’t, because that’s, not the way I was brought up and it’s, not the way my brain works. I’m, not sure it’s. A good thing I don’t know we shall have to see it’s like the long-term effects of using mobile phones or playing rugby union or whatever, with the jury’s out on many of these things we’ll have to wait 10, 20, 30 years to see what the effects are on the human body of many of these things, multiple inputs, I do think, are making us impatient and shallow there’s, a great quote from Oscar Wilde.

He was an insult he gave about the markers of somebody or other. He said his mind is like a soup dish wide, but shallow, and that is pretty much a good description. I think, of social media. In many ways, we you know with the word friend, doesn’t quite mean what it used to, and we tend to have now a lot of shallow relationships as opposed to a few deep ones where there’s, not a lot of Listening going on, you know I’m on the train.

Who cares really? Who cares it’s personal broadcasting? So we set ourselves up as little mini TV, radio, whatever stations and broadcast our every move to our six followers or 6 million followers. It doesn’t really matter.

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