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Bioacoustics and the sounds of nature

Women protecting her years from the city noise

The study of bioacoustics is a growing field exploring the impacts of human-generated sound on the planet. We know that humans are noisy, from car engines to construction sites and even the chatter of people on crowded streets. Bioacoustics seeks to learn how the noise of human activity affects the natural world and how it’s causing natural sounds to change. Here’s a brief overview of the relationship between the natural environment and your hearing.

What’s the study of bioacoustics?

The word bioacoustics combines the words biology and acoustics. It refers to the study of the various ways humans and other creatures engage with their surroundings through hearing and acoustic perception. This discipline is explored in diverse ways, including the impacts of industrial noise on sea life and how pollution changes how natural sounds travel.

Health benefits of nature sounds

You probably don’t need a scientist to convince you that forest sounds can have a positive effect on your sense of well-being. Studies have shown that nature sounds, even in recorded forms, can reduce stress levels, decrease pain and improve immune responses. Experts suggest that the natural sounds of the earth signal to the human body that there’s no threat present, so it’s safe to relax.

Dangers of human noise

In contrast to the health benefits of listening to the wind rustling through the trees or a trickling brook, the negative impacts of exposure to high levels of unnatural noises are also well documented. According to Health Canada, the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to high noise levels range from annoyance to sleep disturbance and even hearing damage. Some studies suggest that overexposure to noise may even contribute to stress-related illnesses.

Protecting your hearing

Not all harmful noises are unpleasant. For example, living near a loud intersection can harm your hearing, but so can listening to your favourite music at a high volume for too long. Additionally, the high-pitched chorus of a healthy community of cicadas can be too intense for human ears to tolerate over a long period of time. Whatever environment you live in, be aware of any noises that may impact your hearing and take suitable precautions.

Hearing care in Calgary, Lethbridge, High River and Grande Prairie

If you live in a high-traffic neighbourhood or spend your days in a noisy workplace, Soundwave Hearing Care offers solutions to help you protect your hearing. We can administer a hearing test and recommend hearing aids or ear protection to meet your unique needs. We also offer pediatric hearing care because it’s never too early to start protecting your hearing. Contact us today to schedule a hearing evaluation.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.