Psychoacoustics and the Physical Properties of Sound

MBV   August 13, 2016

Psychoacoustics and Properties of Sound

Psychoacoustics is the study of the perception of sound – how we actively listen to and emotionally (psychologically) respond to sound.

Traditionally, the field of psychoacoustics was primarily concerned with the relationship between sensory perceptions (psychology) and physical variables (physics).

Today, psychoacoustics primarily focuses on the psychological effects of memory-based experiences of sound and music in relation to therapy. Psychoacoustics also influence physiological components of sound such as the profound effect of its vibrational properties on the body.

Read Acoustic Today's “Psychoacoustics: A Brief Historical Overview”

Physiological Responses

We respond to sound physiologically through our brains. Tones that are set to certain frequencies can cause brainwaves to speed up or slow down. How sound is processed can affect our active listening responses and change our auditory mechanisms, which are located in the middle ear.

Learn more about physiological auditory mechanisms of the ear

Another example of how we respond to noise physiologically is how noise can cause non-auditory physiological disturbances to the body. Noise exposure can cause short-term physiological responses such as increased heart rate and blood pressure mediated through the autonomic nervous system.

Noise can act as a stressor in combination with other physical, chemical, biological, and social factors. In a laboratory experiment, an interaction was found between subjects who had a cold and those who were exposed to noise – based on simple reaction time.

There was little difference between the healthy subjects and those sick with a cold. However, the subjects tested in noisy conditions, were far slower than those who were sick. It was noted that synergistic effects of exposure to noise and vibration have a profound effect on performance.

Read Oxford Journal’s Noise Pollution: Non-auditory effects on health

Sonic Neurotechnologies

It’s clear that sound has a profound effect on us both physiologically and psychologically, and this notion is the basis of brainwave entrainment techniques that come in the form of sonic neurotechnologies like binaural beats.  

Binaural beats systems take the latest advancements in psychoacoustics to harness positive change in the mind and body. This approach is on the opposing side of noise: it uses sound’s vibrational properties to stimulate the brain into a relaxed state of being.

Learn More About the Science of Binaural Beats

Deep and healing brainwave tracks use the power of resonance – one of the most important concepts of sound, to train the brain to fall into relaxed and positive patterns. Entrainment through sympathetic frequencies have the capacity to alter our states of being and to shift our brain’s frequencies.

Additional Resources:

Any Thoughts?

You may also like

Are you ready to enter a new world of mental flow and relaxation? Try iAwake audio sessions and start your meditation now!