TED Conversations

Julian Treasure

Chairman, The Sound Agency


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TED Speaker Julian Treasure: What would a conscious listening world be like – and how do we get there?

In my talk from this year's TEDGlobal, I warned that we are losing our listening, and explored the links between listing and connection, understanding and peace. How do you think listening (or the lack of it) affects our society? And what would a world of conscious listening be like? How would your life experience change? Is it something worth striving for – and if so, how do we get there? And how can you contribute?

Please type in your responses/comments/questions below.

Topics: Listening

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    Oct 10 2011: Hi Julian,

    I wanted to know your thoughts on a couple of things related to sound :-)

    1. What do you think about listening to buddhist/hindu mantras ? Some say they have experienced profound shifts in consciousness when they have listened to certain sounds /syllables etc .. What are your thoughts also on brain-wave tones/frequencies ?
    2. I listen to mp3 format .. The sleeptime audio s/w which I use also use mp3 audio. Are we really losing much by compressing the pure sound into mp3 formats ? Will that affect things a lot ?
    3. I am 25 years old now. And I am really worried if my listening to music off my ipod is going to affect my hearing 20 years down the lane. My workplace is a buzzfield of computer noise as well. Any tips ?

    Enjoyed all of your talks. Glad to see you here in TED :-)
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      Oct 10 2011: Good questions.

      1 There is research about the beneficial effects of meditation in general, though I am not aware of any that specifically focuses on mantras. I have had some very positive personal experiences with chant, but I don't' personally subscribe to the mystic power of one syllable. That's just an opinion!

      2 It depends entirely on the compression rate. I would happily listen to mp3 at 320kbps, or even in a pinch 192kbps for convenience (if I had to). But if you're listening below that it really does make a difference. And why would you now with storage so cheap?

      3 Do NOT listen for hours at a time, and never so loud that you can't hear someone talking to you. When you go to gigs or clubs use hearing protectors - silicon molded that attenuate by just a few dB, flat, not those nasty yellow things that just take the top end off. When you encounter excessively loud noise in the street, just walk away!
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        Oct 10 2011: Thanks a lot for your answers Julian !

        1. I am into meditation and find that it helps me silence my own thoughts to listen effectively. Simply wanted to know your opinion on sound meditation :-) There is in fact some meditation techniques to allow sound to silence your thoughts within. But thank you for sharing your opinion :)

        2. THANK YOU FOR THAT ! I will be using high compression rates from now on :-)

        3. Thank you for these tips. The protectors will definitely be a part of my life .. Will reduce the music time also .. Do you think investing in an expensive noise-cancelling headphones is worth the money in the long run ? Any personal recommendations ? :-)
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          Oct 10 2011: I use Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones a lot when traveling, especially on planes and trains. There are many good makes out there, for example Sennheiser and of course the ubiquitous Bose. The former to me sound better but the latter have excellent noise cancellation algorithms.
        • Oct 10 2011: Recently, a friend told me about some New Age biz, ClearPoint?, that claims to increase meditation submersion/effects by providing a series of sounds to focus on (CDs). Their claim: something like twice as many measurable benefits of meditation in half the time, or some such thing. Trippy.
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      Oct 10 2011: Dear Santhip,
      - Yes, MP3s affect the sounds a LOT. Compression is a no-no. We are losing all the higher harmonics when we do that. Try to listen at least in Wav.
      - Better to use speakers or over the ear headphones rather than in the ear ones. And ALWAYS turn the volume to as low as possible. Its consistent exposure to too much sound at a high volume which will cause your ear to deteriorate.
      - there is a whole field called "nada yoga" in India which is a study of how sound affects consciousness......
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        Oct 11 2011: Thanks Mita .. Will try to get WAV as much as I can .. Will also try to listen to higher bitrate mp3s..

        Heard about Nada yoga .. Thanks for sharing .. :-)

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