The Official SoundScape Weblog

The Official SoundScape Weblog

Ears to Hear

The Joy of Listening

Gordon Hempton is an audio ecologist, which means he works to preserve quiet spaces, in the same way other seek to preserve old growth forests. He also has spent most of his life recording the soundscapes –the sound environments – of just about every natural environment in the world.


I first heard about Gordon Hempton when he was interviewed by Krista Tippett on her radio show On Being.


Tippett talks to him about his life and work and Hempton tells some very interesting stories and passes on some fascinating information from his studies and experience.


After listening to this podcast I was preparing for a presentation and I realized something about myself, which I think is probably true of many others. I cannot sit and look at something – no matter how beautiful it is – and just relax. If I were to go to the beach and try and watch the ocean I would only sit for a couple minutes and then I’d be anxious to be up and doing. However, I can sit and just listen for a very long time. Listening is what really relaxes me. When I sit and listen to the ocean crashing on rocks, or rain (especially falling on a metal roof), a summer night, the wind rustling through an aspen tree, birds singing, I can actually sit and relax and not think about “being productive”. I can sit and relax. This realization makes me better understand how important the ability to hear is and just adds to how much I appreciate my hearing. It also helps me better understand how even a mild hearing loss can affect a person’s quality of life.


Here are some other links to related websites. – A Gordon Hempton TED talk

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