What was that sound? It’s a question you might ask whether you have hearing loss or not. Figuring out what is actually making a certain noise is an effective way to exercise both your ears and brain.
The brain plays an important role in hearing because it takes the electrical messages sent by the inner ear and translates them into imagery that you can comprehend. It’s a skill that most everyone could stand to exercise a bit.
This task doesn’t take much in the way of tools, although you could add some if you want. All you really need, though, is a space that exposes you to a variety of environmental noises. A park bench might be a good option, for example. In a pinch, you could use recorded sounds of the outdoors. The more variation the better, though, so head outside for the best results.
The Sound Clues Exercise
This practice is a critical one for just about anyone because it exercises the ear/brain connection. It takes both of these essential organs to identify different noises. The ears pick up sound in the form of a vibration, which travels to the inner ear. Delicate components in the ear, specifically tiny hair cells, change the vibration into an electric impulse, almost like a message to the brain.
In turn, the brain interprets that message and translates it into something you can identify. It’s almost like it takes the sound and creates a mental image that helps you figure out what made the noise. This exercise focuses on that important element of hearing.
Start by sitting down and closing your eyes. Pick one sound out of the all the environmental noises you hear. Now focus on it, allowing your brain to properly interpret the sound. What is it? What does it look like? How does it make you feel?
You can expand on this task by trying to visualize what’s making the sound. Put some creativity into it. Is it a bird? What color is the bird? The more you wrap your brain around that one sound, the better.