Soundscapes & Covid-19

written by Ozcan Ertek

Thinking about sounds in the cities and noise pollution, out of lockdown, before lockdown and during lockdown there was certainly noticeable difference. Headlines began to break with stories discussing the effects on nature and how covid had caused people to take a break from the city. There were lots of news  and stories about how people take a moment and really appreciate nature in this time.

Sound seems to have become deeply important to us as we have evolved as humans. So how important is it to be tuned into the sounds of nature for our safety and well being?  How sound does shape our perception? 

The sounds we hear have a deep effect on our sense of well  being.

There is a connection between soundscape ecology and our sense of belonging to the natural world as well as our sense of comfort within it. Sometimes it’s subliminal and  subconscious. It is not only people reconnecting with nature during the time of covid,  but a lot of the headlines actually focused on the reduced human made sounds during covid, in the form of traffic, shipping and airplanes.

All  kinds of sounds have been very muted in this time. People, even people living in the  cities started to hear sounds of the nature in a different way, that they haven’t before  for many years or never depending on age. A lot of stories focused on how the reduction in human  sounds made the sounds of nature louder and has caused people to connect with  the nature more intensely.

When the city noises increase again, how can we become better listeners?

With art, creators work to engage people in a way that forces them to use more or all of their senses by carefully looking or listening to something. This heightened focus enriches how we experience life.  A soundscape is any collection of sounds almost like a painting is a collection of  visual attractions. If you listen carefully, your life is enhanced, and the soundscape becomes much more interesting.

When you listen carefully to the soundscape, it becomes astonishing.

In a way the world is a huge musical composition. We are the composers. 

We can improve it, or we can destroy it. We  can add more noises or we can add more beautiful sounds. That’s all up to us. Just as we open our windows to the fresh air, we should open our ears to the surrounding soundscapes to reconnect again with the natural world.