You think about your diet. You think about your exercise. You think about your friends.
How often do you stop to think about the sounds around you?
We’re surrounded by sound, from the humming air conditioner to the clacking of computer keys to the buzzing of insects. As with smells, we become accustomed to these sounds. But it’s worth remembering that they are often optional – and, therefore, subject to design choices.
I recently transitioned from living in a city to living in the country, and that came with a massive change of soundscape. In some ways, the country is quieter – in others, much louder.
While I don’t have the sounds of cars and people at night, I can hear massive armies of cicadas and frogs – wonderful jungle-like sounds I remember from my childhood. And in the day, I hear all kinds of birds in more frequency and variety than I had even in the more suburban parts of my stomping grounds.
For me, this change to being surrounded by animal life has been entirely a blessing. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but hearing the croaking of frogs and the sawing of cicadas sets me at ease. I am back with nature, and this is what nature is supposed to sound like. If I have to design a future ideal soundscape, it will involve these natural sounds.
What about you? If given a choice, would you settle for the sound of automobiles, or want the richer sounds that come from creatures?