this is the editorial from SoundEffects. the last issue of the journal is about sound and listening in healthcare and therapy.
Sound and Listening in Healthcare and Therapy
This special issue of SoundEffects vol. 6, no. 1 reflects the ways in which sound and listening, acoustic environment and mediation can be approached within the areas of healthcare and therapy through research and design. This is in the spirit of SoundEffects approached through a diverse range of disciplines, methods, fields and practices such as music therapy, sound studies, sonic interaction design and research-through-design. The issue Sound and Listening in Healthcare and Therapy offers broad insight into concepts, theories, methods and tools for analysing, designing, evaluating and unfolding the shared acoustic environment considering site-specific as well as individual, social, technological and cultural listening circumstances in relation to health. Investigations of the psychological as well as somatic effects of perceived sound are central in this issue of SoundEffects, and the articles address sound and health in relation to specific media, genres, needs, disorders and social and cultural behaviour.
In Western healthcare settings the impact of the environment on our general well-being is being highlighted as a key area of interest. Kristensen, Edworthy & Özcan and Højlund explore acoustical perspectives and auditive experiences entangled with other essential parameters such as the physical, technological, embodied and multisensory conditions in relation to the overall hospital environment. Both articles stress the importance of reflecting on acoustical issues of e.g. noise and alarm fatigue through the lenses of such ‘non-acoustic’ conditions.
In society in general as well as in healthcare settings we experience an increas- ing interest in different kinds of digital self-help audio material, storable in smart- phones and suitable for mobile, modern everyday life. Various therapeutic audio material (spoken, musical, sound-designed) is offered by psychologists, pharmacies and therapists to support general well-being as well as to help patients with diag- noses.
In this issue of SoundEffects Björkén-Nyberg discusses the therapeutic qualities of the voice in audiobooks. And Lund, Bertelsen & Bonde present a project that empowers psychiatric patients to choose music suited to their individual needs during hospitalisation. The project builds on theoretical and empirical research in music medicine and music therapy and is integrated into a larger research study on the application of sound and music in a hospital environment in Denmark.
Another interest reflected in the issue is the potentials of using interactive sound and music to promote and support physical activity in relation to age-related health challenges such as Alzheimer’s disease and various disabilities (Rosseland; Bergsland & Wechsler). Both Rosseland and Bergsland & Wechsler explore how interactive technology can be used to motivate users to engage in activity through gestures and movement that control dynamically adapting musical elements.
The article by Epstein broadens the scope and speculates about how sound-related categories such as noise, quiet and silence relate to health. She questions whether recommendations on ‘healthy soundscapes’ should be based on individual prefer- ence, or if there are universal principles that apply regardless of circumstances? Are there such things as toxic and nourishing sounds, comparable to elements of nutrition? She argues that the Acoustic Ecology and Sound Studies movements have grown into a promising matrix for public education on the influence of sound- scapes, but that disputes about the values of such categories are counterproductive and must be moved upon.
We are very proud to present these seven distinguished articles.
Welcome to SoundEffects vol. 6, no. 1.
Marie Koldkjær Højlund & Iben Have
i was particularly interested in this article. it adresses questions such as
Are there such things as toxic and nourishing sounds, comparable to elements of nutrition ?
i'm very intrigued by the work of a male nurse in a mental health hospital. he makes noise, his project is named (roughly traduction) 'listen to the shit', he sees this artistic project as a catharsis.
he invites noise artists to make performances in the hospital. autistic persons are the audience and noise makes them feel good.
if there are sound/music therapists around, i'd love to hear from you about your experiences. what do you do ? how do you choose the sound you are working with ? do you play for the patient and/or with the patient ? what is your listening experience ?