The Power Of Sound On Our Health and Behaviours


While there is still so much to learn about sound, science tells us it has a major impact on our minds, bodies, souls, and consequently behaviours.⁠

Sound is everywhere and we are immersed in it. Whether in the form of noise or music compositions, it can move and affect us on multiple levels and in a wide variety of situations.

The Impact Of Sound On Our Health

Exposing ourselves to certain sounds for prolonged and regular periods of time can have an impact on our health - positive and negative.

Stansfield (2016) reports that noise exposure can increase stress levels leading to physiological arousals, such as raised heart rate and blood pressure, as well as anxiety.

You may have heard of *misophonia*, a condition that according to Harvard University, sees individuals 'being emotionally affected by common sounds — usually made by others, ones that other people don’t tend to pay attention to'. For these people, an estimated 20% worldwide, such sounds - think of chewing, yawning, or breathing - can trigger involuntary reactions, from influencing their ability to carry out simple tasks to extreme anger and a desire to escape (Wu, et al., 2014).

A Powerful Sense

Did you know that our reaction times to sound are about 30 milliseconds faster than reaction times to visuals (Johnson et al., 1985)? This means that our instinctive emotional responses to sound happen before we consciously become aware of what the sound is, where it's coming from, etc.

Brilliant research by Made Music Studio revealed an 86% correlation between our emotional subconscious response to sound and our conscious predisposition to engage with an associated event or avoid it in the future.

Science doesn't lie; by disregarding the importance of sound in your environment, you could lead people to want to give up on the experience altogether.

Sound can help shape human experiences and could therefore be used to positively impact the world we live in. From our daily routines, such as spending time at our workplace, where noise exposure and lack of control over sound can increase job dissatisfaction (Lee, et al., 2015), to the activities we engage in our spare time, such as wellness, travel, and entertainment - sound can make a real difference to our well-being.

Here at Swell, we invest in research and rely on scientific data to deliver transformative experiences centred around health and well-being in the form of sound.