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Sound Affects

I had the pleasure of hearing Julian Treasure speak at the BSHAA Congress last week.

He's one of the most successful speakers on TED.com - his talk "How to speak so that people want to listen" has achieved more than five million views and is in the top 50 TED Talks of all time.

His presentation "Sound Affects" - made without refernce to notes - was impressive and very thought-provoking. He discussed how the hidden effects of sound and noise impact on us all.

It made me wonder how aware we are of the soundscape?

Supermarkets spend millions on brand positioning and store layout - yet often play terrible music pumped out of cheap speakers. Schools are so noisy and pupils' desks are often arranged so badly that the kids don't even hear the teacher or the discussions well enough to learn properly. Hospitals are apparently the worst for noise pollution and the least conducive to recovery.

Vision is conical but hearing is spherical- yet how often do architects take this into account?

Julian had some fascinating statistics and opinions, not to mention success stories. I'd urge you to watch some of his Ted Talks here.

He asked "What is your favourite sound?"

Mine is the tympani in the introduction to the second movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - and that only because there was a ban on anything to do with cute baby sounds.

What's yours?

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