Sounds like birdsong and flowing water may alleviate stress, help lower blood pressure and lead to feelings of tranquility
A creek runs by moss-covered rocks not far From Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. Researchers have found that listening to natural sounds like running water may benefit human health. (Naphat Photography via Getty Images)
Miles away from the nearest road in Colorado’s Wheeler Geologic Area, the problem of noise pollution hit home for conservation biologist Rachel Buxton.
‘It was a gorgeous, remote valley, and then a plane flew over and you could hear the noise for ages as it reverberated in the valley,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is a really pervasive issue.’”
Buxton teamed up with researchers from the National Park Service and Colorado State University to author a 2019 study documenting manmade noise in U.S. national parks.
The study was part of a growing pile of research exploring noise’s negative impacts on animals and humans alike. Noise makes it hard for animals to find food and mates and can lead humans to suffer stress, high blood pressure and other ailments.
The UK’s audio collections are under threat. Often created on media that over time has become unstable, they are at risk – both from physical degradation and from the obsolescence of technology to replay them.
Professional consensus is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save the UK’s sound collections before they become unplayable and are effectively lost. The solution is to digitally preserve them, but the scale of the task required is considerable and time is running out.