The orchestra within: the sounds of your body3 May '2017 Sound
The living machine that is our body, produces the low humming symphony of our lives. And – thank goodness! – we can only hear just the bare minimum of it.
In the city of Minneapolis, in the American state of Minnesota you’ll find a little room that holds an interesting Guinness World record. This bunker-like place is surrounded by layers of steel, concrete and filled with absorbing buffers. All protects it from something that is very hard to keep out: sound. The most quiet place in the world. But anyone who is looking to find silence in there: think again.
Huffing and puffing
Where there is life, there is sound. If you were in that room, totally secluded from all external noise, you would still hear noises. Our body is a working machine, that produces hisses, puffs and rumbles like a factory does. Chewing, breathing, swallowing, digesting, transporting, beating, squeaking of nerves: our body is almost like an orchestra.
But also outside of total silence you will surely know some of your body’s sounds: just run as fast as you can for 5 minutes, wipe off the sweat and listen. Your breath puffing in and out, the pumping of your heart, maybe even the blood rushing to bring oxygen to your head fast. And if you haven’t eaten for a while, your stomach literally roars for attention.
Our heart’s drum
Luckily, the way our inner ear works, makes it very implausible you’ll hear your bodily sound. This is because most of them are on a very low frequency. The drum of our heartbeat for instance, is on a frequency of 50Hz. We can definitely hear it, but we are not too sensitive to that frequency.
The record of a person staying in the quietest room in the world stands at just a mere 45 minutes. All others fled out earlier, disturbed by the silence and their own noises. Normally, you hear some of your body’s rumble, but not too much. Thank goodness, ’cause it would drive us crazy.
There is a medical condition called SCDS, where people have an over sensitive hearing system, noticing all from the digestion in the bowels to the moving of their eyeballs. Think of the sensation of eating an apple with earplugs in, all day, everyday. Luckily there is a treatment, and those poor people affected even take the risk of hearing damage to get rid of their condition. Long live the outside world, distracting us!
There is one bodily sound though, that we really are not fond of. Since the lows are mostly unnoticed, the highs disturb us. Like the ringing sound your ears sometimes make after exposure to loud sounds. Not a real, existing bodily sound, but a surreal warning sign from your ears. One to take seriously. So even though we have an orchestra within, we gotta make sure we save our ears from the one outside, and protect them when needed.
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