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Simon Heather
Category: Sound Healing

Sound That Heals and Sound That Hurts

In a recent nation-wide survey of health clubs in the USA researchers found that noise levels exceeded 110dB in 60% of clubs. Thirty minutes exposure to this volume can cause lifelong hearing damage.

During a workout the body directs blood away from the head to the heart, legs and arms making hearing more susceptible to damage.

The US magazine Health reported the story of a 34 year old woman who had attended aerobics classes for 15 years who had such severe hearing loss that she needed to wear hearing aids in both ears.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health prolonged exposure to sound above 85dBs can cause hearing damage. The decibel scale is a logarithmic scale which means that 95dB is ten times louder than 85dB and 105dB is a hundred times louder than 85dB.

Between 1986-96 noise levels in the USA have increased by 11%. The resultant hearing loss is so great that an eighty year old Sudanese villager hears better than a thirty year old American.

Noised induced hearing loss now begins at an early age. Loud sounds cause a constriction in the blood vessels in the ear and destroy the delicate hair cells in the ear that transfer sound vibrations into nerve stimuli.

Damage to these hair cells can cause tinnitus, hyper or hypo sensitivity to sound as well as hearing loss.

One of the main causes of hearing loss is the prolonged listening to loud music on personal stereos. Most personal stereos are capable of producing sounds up to 120 dB. The French Parliament has recently legislated to reduce the maximum volume on personal stereos to 90dBs.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association between the 7th and 12th grade the average teenager listens to 10,500 hours of rock music. A scientific study in 1994 found that adolescents who preferred heavy metal and rap music had a higher incidence of low school grades, school behaviour problems, drug and alcohol abuse problem and arrests compared with adolescents with other musical tastes.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported that heart disease and hypoglycaemia were worse for workers working in noisy industries compared with those working in non-noisy industries.

A study by Dr Shirley Thompson at the University of South Carolina found that exposure to excessive noise may raise our blood pressure by as much as ten percent. She found that exposure to loud noise increases the body's secretion of adrenaline causing the heart to beat more rapidly.

Researchers at the University of Los Angeles found that the death rates for people living under the flight path of Los Angeles airport were substantially higher than for those people living in a comparable community living eight miles away from the airport. Loud noise, particularly sonic boom can also affect the unborn foetus causing congenital malformation.


The UCLA researchers also found that noise pollution impaired the development and communication skills of children. A researcher in New York corroborated this finding. She found the school children whose classroom was on the train track side of a school were lagging one year behind a class of the children of the same age whose classroom was on the other side of the building away from the noise of the trains.


A recent report on ABC News stated that scientists have noticed that underwater noise pollution from supertankers, oil exploration and military sonar is disrupting the breeding and migration patterns of sea creatures. Certain species of birds living by noisy roads or airports are failing to learn their mating calls from their parents and are unable to attract a mate.

Dr Tomatis

Dr Tomatis the French ear, nose and throat specialist has spent over fifty years researching the effects of sound on the human body. Tomatis found that learning difficulties in children are directly related to hearing difficulties. Missing frequencies within our hearing range will not only affect our ability to sing in tune but our ability to learn new things and stay healthy.

Tomatis proved that our body and brain are literally charged up with energy if we listen to sounds rich in high frequencies. These high frequencies are found in nature in the sounds of the ocean, water flowing and bird song. Violin music by Mozart and Vivaldi is particularly healing, as is Gregorian Chant. Tomatis says that Gregorian Chant contains all the sound that the human body needs to be healthy.

He discovered this remarkable phenomenon when he was asked to visit a Benedictine Monastery in Southern France where most of the monks had become ill and no doctor could cure them. Tomatis discovered that they had become ill after a new Abbott had abolished the monk's daily Gregorian Chant.

As a researcher and teacher in the field of sound healing I am aware of how important it is for each of us to use our own voice to keep ourselves healthy. People who sing regularly generally enjoy better health than the rest of the population. Of all the professions, orchestral conductors enjoy the longest life span and often continue to work in their eighties.

For thousands of years people have sung as part of their daily life. We are the first generation of people who have machines to sing for us.

We can combat the invasion of external noise by singing, humming or toning. By using our voice we can tune ourselves up. With a little bit of help most people can sing in tune. Those who think they can't sing generally have frequencies missing from their hearing. Once these missing frequencies are restored people are amazed that they can sing in tune.

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