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The UX design case of closed captions for everyone // Sebastian Greger
"Are video subtitles really chiefly for users who cannot hear or lack an audio device? A recent Twitter thread on “closed captions for the hearing” triggered a brief qualitative exploration and thought experiment – there may well be a growing group of users being forgotten in the design of closed captions.

Most commonly perceived as an auxiliary means for the hearing impaired, video subtitles, a.k.a. closed captions (CC), have only recently started to be widely considered as an affordance for users in situations with no audio available/possible (think mobile devices in public settings, libraries, shared office spaces); the latter to the extend that contemporary “social media marketing guidelines” strongly recommend subtitling video clips uploaded to Facebook, Twitter et al.

So: subtitles are for those who cannot hear, or with muted devices?

Who else uses closed captions?

I’m personally a great fan of closed captions, for various reasons unrelated to either of the above, and have often noticed certain limitations in their design. Hence, the user researcher inside me just did a somersault as I randomly encountered a Twitter thread [https://twitter.com/jkottke/status/1091338252475396097 ] following Jason Kottke asking his 247.000 followers:
After seeing several photos my (English-speaking, non-deaf) friends have taken of their TV screens over the past week, I’m realizing that many of you watch TV with closed captions (or subtitles) on?! Is this a thing? And if so, why?

The 150+ replies (I guess this qualifies as a reasonable sample for a qualitative analysis of sorts?) are a wonderful example of “accessibility features” benefiting everybody (I wrote about another instance recently [https://sebastiangreger.net/2018/11/twitter-alt-texts-on-db-trains/ ]). The reasons why people watch TV with closed captions on, despite having good hearing abilities and not being constrained by having to watch muted video, are manifold and go far beyond those two most commonly anticipated use cases.

[image: Close-up image of a video with subtitles (caption: "Closed captions are used by people with good hearing and audio playback turned on. An overseen use case?")]

Even applying a rather shallow, ex-tempore categorisation exercise based on the replies on Twitter, I end up with an impressive list to start with:

• Permanent difficulties with audio content
◦ audio processing disorders
◦ short attention span (incl., but not limited to clinical conditions)
◦ hard of hearing, irrespective of age
• Temporary impairments of hearing or perception
◦ watching under the influence of alcohol
◦ noise from eating chips while watching
• Environmental/contextual factors
◦ environment noise from others in the room (or a snoring dog)
◦ distractions and multitasking (working out, child care, web browsing, working, phone calls)
• Reasons related to the media itself
◦ bad audio levels of voice vs. music
• Enabler for improved understanding
◦ easier to follow dialogue
◦ annoyance with missing dialogue
◦ avoidance of misinterpretations
◦ better appreciation of dialogue
• Better access to details
◦ able to take note of titles of songs played
◦ ability to understand song lyrics
◦ re-watching to catch missed details
• Language-related reasons
◦ strong accents
◦ fast talking, mumbling
◦ unable to understand foreign language
◦ insecurity with non-native language
• Educational goals, learning and understanding
◦ language learning
◦ literacy development for children
◦ seeing the spelling of unknown words/names
◦ easier memorability of content read (retainability)
• Social reasons
◦ courtesy to others, either in need for silence or with a need/preference for subtitles
◦ presence of pets or sleeping children
◦ avoiding social conflict over sound level or distractions (“CC = family peace”)
• Media habits
◦ ability to share screen photos with text online
• Personal preferences
◦ preference for reading
◦ acquired habit
• Limitations of technology skills
◦ lack of knowledge of how to turn them off

An attempt at designerly analysis

The reasons range from common sense to surprising, such as the examples of closed captions used to avoid family conflict or the two respondents explicitly mentioning “eating chips” as a source of disturbing noise. Motivations mentioned repeatedly refer to learning and/or understanding, but also such apparently banal reasons like not knowing how to turn them off (a usability issue?). Most importantly, though, it becomes apparent that using CC is more often than not related to choice/preference, rather than to impairment or restraints from using audio.

At the same time, it becomes very clear that not everybody likes them, especially when forced to watch with subtitles by another person. The desire/need of some may negatively affect the experience of others present. A repeat complaint that, particularly with comedy, CC can kill the jokes may also hint at the fact that subtitles and their timing could perhaps be improved by considering them as more than an accessibility aid for those who would not hear the audio? (It appears as if the scenario of audio and CC consumed simultaneously is not something considered when subtitles are created and implemented; are we looking at another case for “exclusive design”?)

And while perceived as distracting when new – this was the starting point of Kottke’s Tweet – many of the comments share the view that it becomes less obtrusive over time; people from countries where TV is not dubbed in particular are so used to it they barely notice it (“becomes second nature”). Yet, there are even such interesting behaviours like people skipping back to re-read a dialogue they only listened to at first, as well as that of skipping back to be able to pay better attention to the picture at second view (e.g. details of expression) after reading the subtitles initially.

Last but not least, it is interesting how people may even feel shame over using CC. Only a conversation like the cited Twitter thread may help them realise that it is much more common than they thought. And most importantly that it has nothing to do with a perceived stigmatisation of being “hard of hearing”.

CC as part of video content design

The phenomenon is obviously not new. Some articles on the topic suggest that it is a generational habit [https://medium.com/s/the-upgrade/why-gen-z-loves-closed-captioning-ec4e44b8d02f ] of generation Z (though Kottke’s little survey proves the contrary), or even sees [https://www.wired.com/story/closed-captions-everywhere/ ] it as paranoid and obsessive-compulsive behaviour of “postmodern completists” as facilitated by new technological possibilities. Research on the benefits of CC for language learning, on the other hand, reaches back [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19388078909557984 ] several decades.

No matter what – the phenomenon in itself is interesting enough to make this a theme for deeper consideration in any design project that contains video material. Because, after all, one thing is for sure: closed captions are not for those with hearing impairments or with muted devices alone – and to deliver great UX, these users should be considered as well."

[See also: https://kottke.org/19/04/why-everyone-is-watching-tv-with-closed-captioning-on-these-days ]
closedcaptioning  subtitles  closedcaptions  text  reading  genz  generationz  audio  video  tv  film  dialogue  listening  howweread  2019  sebastiangreger  literacy  language  languages  ux  ui  television  ocd  attention  adhd  languagelearning  learning  howwelearn  processing  hearing  sound  environment  parenting  media  multimedia  clarity  accents  memory  memorization  children  distractions  technology  classideas 
march 2019 by robertogreco
AnjiPlay (@anjiplay) • Fotos y vídeos de Instagram
“We have discovered that some teachers, if they really want to hear what children have to say, that their whole state of being is at ease, and they listen closely and that in the process of listening they discover that children are speaking a wealth of information, and these teachers will be receptive to the information that they are hearing. And then some teachers want to hear children say what they the teachers, deep down, want the children to say, things that they want to hear, and will unconsciously overlook what children are actually saying. They can't hear clearly and are unable to truly understand the child's expression. And you can see that their physical state of being is one of anxiety.” —Wang Zhen, Vice Principal, Jiguan Kindergarten, Anji County interviewed by Dr. Chelsea Bailey on November 7, 2018.
wangzhen  children  childhood  preschool  anjiplay  listening  howweteach  teaching  pedagogy  hearing  attention  presence  receptivity 
november 2018 by robertogreco
An Evening with Lawrence Abu Hamdan | MoMA
"MoMA presents the US premiere of an “audio essay” by Beirut-based Jordanian-British artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, whose work attempts to trace and highlight the relationship between the act of listening and politics, human rights, international law and borders, testimony, and truth. Using audio documentaries and essays, as well as audiovisual installations, Abu Hamdan expresses his fascination with different types of listening at work in today’s legal and political forums. MoMA has recently acquired three important works dealing with similar themes: The Whole Truth, Conflicted Phonemes, and The Aural Contract Audio Archive.

In this new audio essay (a term the artist prefers to “lecture-performance”), he focuses on Saydnaya prison, near Damascus. Working with Forensic Architecture, Amnesty International, and the survivors of Saydnaya, Abu Hamdan captures “ear-witness accounts,” as detainees reconstruct events and the architecture of the prison they experienced through sound. The work raises pivotal questions about the politics of the field known as “forensic listening.”

The artist will be joined for a conversation by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a 2015–17 Vera List Center Fellow."

[Casey says:

"he’s… just about the smartest person ever… Super dense speaking/listening/visuals on secret prisons, gunshots, birds.

Precedent for the kind of surveillance we’re dealing with, he argued, isn’t ~the Panopticon~, but Cage’s 4’33 (Silence).

(Listening to foley reconstructions of military prison torture sounds for 2 hrs…"]

[See also:
"What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening - Keynote presentation by Lawrence Abu Hamdan"
https://vimeo.com/129018344

What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening
April 24 - 25, 2015
The New School, Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Auditorium
66 Fifth Avenue, New York City

What Now? 2015 is a two-day annual symposium, organized by Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, which investigates critical and timely issues in contemporary art. Dedicated to the topic of “The Politics of Listening,” the 2015 symposium comprises four panel discussions spanning Friday and Saturday, a keynote delivered by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and a program of sound installations, audio works, film screenings, and performances.

For more information on What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening, visit:
artingeneral.org/exhibitions/592

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a multi-media artist with a background in DIY music. In 2015, he was the Armory Show commissioned artist and participated in the New Museum Triennial. The artist’s forensic audio investigations are made as part of the Forensic Architecture research project at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he is also a PhD candidate and associate lecturer. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at institutions such as The Showroom, London; Casco, Utrecht; Beirut, Cairo; and forthcoming at Kunsthalle St Gallen and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.]

[See also:
"LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN: Introduction"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8UAwxoeIi8

"VOICE ~ CREATURE OF TRANSITION

“[…] the voice is elusive, always changing, becoming, elapsing, with unclear contours […]“ – Mladen Dolar in: A Voice And Nothing More (2006)

Conference- festival that took place from 20-23 March, 2014 at De Brakke Grond, a theater space located in the heart of Amsterdam’s old city center.

Gabriëlle Schleijpen, head of Studium Generale Rietveld Academie invited  Lawrence Abu Hamdan, If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Ruth Noack and Mark Beasley to each inaugurate a discursive and performative program of one day.

Thursday March 20

The Right To Silence, curated and presented by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

A daylong exploration of how voices are both heard and silenced; listening itself will be interpreted in its many forms and affects, allowing us to understand both the frontiers of the voice and the tireless battle to govern and contain it.

With contributions by Noah Angell, Ali Kaviani (Silent University), Anna Kipervaser, Maha Mamoun and Haytham El-Wardany, Kobe Matthys (Agence), Niall Moore, James Parker and Tom Rice."]

[And more:

"Artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan Demands the Right to Stay Silent"
http://www.vice.com/read/artist-lawrence-abu-hamdan-demands-the-right-to-stay-silent-981

"THE RIGHT TO SILENCE: An event series in three parts"
http://www.electra-productions.com/projects/2012/silence/overview.shtml

"Lawrence Abu Hamdan on Contra Diction: Speech Against Itself"
http://www.newmuseum.org/calendar/view/452/lawrence-abu-hamdan-s-contra-diction-speech-against-itself

"LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN: THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF SOUND AND SILENCE"
http://www.digicult.it/articles/lawrence-abu-hamdan-the-political-implications-of-sound-and-silence/

"The Right To Silence I"
http://www.theshowroom.org/events/the-right-to-silence-i

"The Right To Silence II"
http://www.theshowroom.org/events/the-right-to-silence-ii

"Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself"
http://www.theshowroom.org/exhibitions/lawrence-abu-hamdan-aural-contract-the-freedom-of-speech-itself
http://sound-art-text.com/post/34633829824/lawrence-abu-hamdan-aural-contract-the-freedom ]
via:caseygollan  lawrenceabuhamdan  listening  politcs  humanrights  tolisten  borders  law  internationallaw  testimony  truth  audio  politics  saysnayaprison  damascus  syria  amnestyinternational  forensiclistening  gunshots  birds  soundscapes  classideas  earwitnesses  hearing  anajanecski 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Inclusive on Vimeo
"Learn how human-led design makes a deep and connecting impact, leading to innovative and inclusive solutions.

Learn more at inclusivethefilm.com

Participants:
Catharine Blaine K-8 School
Susan Goltsman - MIG, Inc
Will Lewis and Ted Hart - Skype Translator
TJ Parker - Pillpack
Graham Pullin - University of Dundee
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University Of China (RDFZ) Beijing
Jutta Treviranus - OCAD University
Mike Vanis - Interaction Designer"
inclusion  inclusivity  microsoft  via:ablerism  2015  design  catharineblaine  susangoltsman  willlewis  tedhart  tjparker  grahampullin  juttatreviranus  mikevanis  video  documentary  audiencesofone  sewing  aging  retirement  work  ambientintimacy  memory  nostalgia  presence  telepresence  inclusivedesign  technology  translation  healthcare  prescriptions  playgrounds  seattle  sanfrancisco  captioning  literacy  communication  hearing  deaf  deafness  skype 
june 2016 by robertogreco
What it's like to hear through a broken eardrum - Home | Spark with Nora Young | CBC Radio
"Imagine pressure, slowly, painfully, building inside your ear, until... POP!

...a burst eardrum.

It's not nice, but it's not uncommon, and the results can be pretty significant hearing loss, at least in the short term.

For Wesley Goatley, a sound artist and researcher in Brighton, England, a burst eardrum had a major impact on his work. A lot of Wesley's art has to do with conveying data (especially from digital sources) through sound.

During a bad cold over Christmas, Wesley got an ear infection in his left ear, causing a rupture. Although it meant that Wesley had to quickly spin on the spot to hear anything in stereo, it also allowed him to hear sound in ways he hadn't before.

Using his good ear as a reference, he found that the sound heard through the puncture was similar to an effect called downsampling. Think of the crunchy sound of a poor quality MP3. He also noted a significant drop it volume, and a change in tone... "like a drum skin with a hole in it, or a drum skin that has been loosened off."

Using his experience and his knowledge of sound production, Wesley created a program called "Life in Mono", which aims to simulate the experience of hearing with a punctured eardrum.

With Life in Mono, Wesley hopes that it will allow people to hear in a new way, but also help people to empathize with people who have experienced hearing loss."
hearing  sound  wesleygoatley  audio  2016  music  eardrums 
february 2016 by robertogreco
What are all these mysterious Japanese car stickers? | News on Japan
"1 Japan adopted the shamrock symbol to designate handicapped drivers even though the international symbol of a wheelchair is recognized everywhere else in the world.

2 The weird butterfly mark is Japan’s “hard of hearing” symbol. Hard of hearing drivers must display these stickers, which forbids other drivers from cutting off or aggressively passing such cars. This butterfly-mark is an obscure, only-in-Japan symbol and other parts of the world use this easy-to-understand ear mark.

3 Officially called the Koreisha mark (kōrei untensha hyōshiki), the fallen leaf mark must be displayed by drivers over 75 (and strongly recommended for those over 70) to warn other drivers of the impending danger.

UPDATE:
On February 1, 2011, the “Autumn leaf” (Koreisha ) symbol to indicate “aged person at the wheel” was changed to the new, 4-leafed form

(Wikipedia).Japanese_Kourei_mark250
New Koreisha mark
Back in 2009 (The Mainichi / 2009 July 23) that Japanese Police Agency announced that it wanted to come up with a new design to replace the “autumn leaf” symbol which designates an elderly driver. A survey has indicated that only around half of people questioned had an idea of what it meant.

4 Officially called the Shoshinsha mark (shoshin untensha hyōshiki), new drivers must display the green leaf mark for one year after getting their license to warn other drivers that the driver is not very skilled."
symbols  japan  wakaba  wakabamark  driving  koreishamark  koreisha  shoshinshamark  hearing  deaf  deafness  disability  labels  disabilities 
december 2015 by robertogreco
addenda may 2007
"Aedan hearing test incident new york city december 2007.

anthony ptak. 4_07 mp3 256 kbps vbr - 6:40 13.7mb mp3 [http://seasonalbk.net/_addenda/0705/4_07.mp3 ]
recording april, 2007. unprocessed. copper pipe in grain silo elevator urbana, illinois.

anthony ptak. 4_07 ogg audio compressed - 6:40 10.3mb ogg vorbis [http://seasonalbk.net/_addenda/0705/ptak_anthony_4_07.ogg ]
recording april, 2007. unprocessed. copper pipe in grain silo elevator urbana, illinois."
anthonyptak  hearing  hearingtests  music  sound  audio 
september 2015 by robertogreco
How Culture Shapes Our Senses - NYTimes.com
"FLORENCE, Italy — WE think of our senses as hard-wired gateways to the world. Many years ago the social psychologist Daryl J. Bem described the knowledge we gain from our senses as “zero-order beliefs,” so taken for granted that we do not even notice them as beliefs. The sky is blue. The fan hums. Ice is cold. That’s the nature of reality, and it seems peculiar that different people with their senses intact would experience it subjectively.

Yet they do. In recent years anthropologists have begun to point out that sensory perception is culturally specific. “Sensory perception,” Constance Classen, the author of “The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch,” says, “is a cultural as well as physical act.” It’s a controversial claim made famous by Marshall McLuhan’s insistence that nonliterate societies were governed by spoken words and sound, while literate societies experienced words visually and so were dominated by sight. Few anthropologists would accept that straightforwardly today. But more and more are willing to argue that sensory perception is as much about the cultural training of attention as it is about biological capacity.

Now they have some quantitative evidence to support the point. Recently, a team of anthropologists and psychologists at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University, both in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, set out to discover how language and culture affected sensory awareness. Under the leadership of Asifa Majid and Stephen C. Levinson, they made up a kit of systematic stimuli for the traditional five senses: for sight, color chips and geometric forms; for hearing, pitch, amplitude and rhythm variations; for smell, a set of scratch-and-sniff cards; and so forth. They took these kits to over 20 cultural groups around the world. Their results upend some of our basic assumptions.

For example, it’s fairly common, in scientific literature, to find the view that “humans are astonishingly bad at odor identification and naming,” as a recent review of 30 years of experiments concluded. When ordinary people are presented with the smell of ordinary substances (coffee, peanut butter, chocolate), they correctly identify about half of them. That’s why we think of scent as a trigger for personal memory — leading to the recall of something specific, particular, uniquely our own.

It turns out that the subjects of those 30 years of experiments were mostly English-speaking. Indeed, English speakers find it easy to identify the common color in milk and jasmine flowers (“white”) but not the common scent in, say, bat droppings and the leaf of ginger root. When the research team presented what should have been familiar scents to Americans — cinnamon, turpentine, lemon, rose and so forth — they were terrible at naming them. Americans, they wrote, said things like this when presented with the cinnamon scratch-and-sniff card: “I don’t know how to say that, sweet, yeah; I have tasted that gum like Big Red or something tastes like, what do I want to say? I can’t get the word. Jesus it’s like that gum smell like something like Big Red. Can I say that? O.K. Big Red, Big Red gum.”

When the research team visited the Jahai, rain-forest foragers on the Malay Peninsula, they found that the Jahai were succinct and more accurate with the scratch-and-sniff cards. In fact, they were about as good at naming what they smelled as what they saw. They do, in fact, have an abstract term for the shared odor in bat droppings and the leaf of ginger root. Abstract odor terms are common among people on the Malay Peninsula.

The team also found that several communities — speakers of Persian, Turkish and Zapotec — used different metaphors than English and Dutch speakers to describe pitch, or frequency: Sounds were thin or thick rather than high or low. In later work, they demonstrated that the metaphors were powerful enough to disrupt perception. When Dutch speakers heard a tone while being shown a mismatched height bar (e.g., a high tone and a low bar) and were asked to sing the tone, they sang a lower tone. But the perception wasn’t influenced when they were shown a thin or thick bar. When Persian speakers heard a tone and were shown a bar of mismatched thickness, however, they misremembered the tone — but not when they were shown a bar mismatched for height.

The team also found that some of these differences could change over time. They taught the Dutch speakers to think about pitch as thin or thick, and soon these participants, too, found that their memory of a tone was affected by being shown a bar that was too thick or too thin. They found that younger Cantonese speakers had fewer words for tastes and smells than older ones, a shift attributed to rapid socioeconomic development and Western-style schooling.

I wrote this in Florence, Italy, a city famous as a feast for the senses. People say that Florence teaches you to see differently — that as the soft light moves across the ocher buildings, you see colors you never noticed before.

It taught Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, to see differently. He attributes his inspiration to a photography class he took in Florence while at a Stanford study-abroad program about a decade ago. His teacher took away his state-of-the-art camera and insisted he use an old plastic one instead, to change the way he saw. He loved those photos, the vintage feel of them, and the way the buildings looked in the light. He set out to recreate that look in the app he built. And that has changed the way many of us now see as well."
senses  taste  smell  olfaction  touch  sight  seeing  noticing  language  languages  culture  darylbem  tmluhrmann  constanceclassen  wcydwt  glvo  slow  marshallmcluhan  anthropology  psychology  perception  sense  asifamajid  stephenlevinson  sound  hearing  tone  pitch  rhythm  color  comparison  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  literacies  literacy  identification  naming  kevinsystrom 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Episode 28: What We Hear When We Read — The Organist — KCRW
"A discussion of the aural side of reading with book designer Peter Mendelsund, including excerpts from classic readings by James Joyce and others."
petermedelsun  reading  audio  audiobooks  hearing  books  howweread  readings  2014  seeing  visualizarion  sound 
august 2014 by robertogreco
BBC - Future - Technology - Beyond human: How I became a cyborg
"When writer Frank Swain joined the ranks of the cyborgs, he discovered that it meant losing control of a part of his body. In the first of our Beyond Human series, he explores why enhancing the senses raises surprising personal and ethical problems."



"Unfortunately, supercharging my hearing aids is not just challenging, it’s positively forbidden. During one fitting, I asked the technician calibrating them how I could adjust the settings myself, in case I found them too loud or too quiet for a particular environment. “You can’t do that!” he exclaimed with some alarm. “It’s very important they are only set up by a qualified audiologist.”

He needn’t have worried too much. Hearing aids are, by design, incredibly resistant to tinkering. Some have a button to switch between modes for different environments. Others – like my current pair – are entirely automated, relegating me a passive listener rather than an engaged user. Traditionally designed with elderly (and presumably technophobic) customers in mind, the emphasis for manufacturers has been on invisibility and ease of use, rather than fine control. All the same, manufacturers take a dim view of users fiddling with their own devices, and it’s very difficult for anyone who isn’t a certified audiologist to get their hands on the specialist programming equipment. Even the peripherals, such as additional microphones or Bluetooth adaptors, tend to come locked down in proprietary formats.

These restrictions raise an important question: exactly who owns my hearing?"
frankswain  body  bodies  cyborgs  humans  human  augmentation  hearing  2014 
january 2014 by robertogreco
#cyborgchat with @NeilHarbisson (with tweets) · roseveleth · Storify
"Neil's eyeborg serves as a third eye, one that can see the colors he can't. "It transposes color into a continuous electronic beep, exploiting the fact that both light andsound are made up of waves of various frequencies. Red, at the bottom of the visual spectrum and with the lowest frequency, sounds the lowest, and violet, at the top, sounds highest. A chip at the back of Harbisson’s head performs the necessary computations, and a pressure-pad allows color-related sound to be conducted to Harbisson’s inner ear through the vibration of his skull, leaving his outer ears free for normal noise. Harbisson, who has perfect pitch, has learned to link these notes back to the colors that produced them.""

[See also: http://nautil.us/issue/1/what-makes-you-so-special/encounters-with-the-posthuman ]
neilharbisson  vision  color  cyborgs  sound  hearing  audio  perception  pitch  colors 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing - NYTimes.com
"This is because hearing has evolved as our alarm system — it operates out of line of sight and works even while you are asleep. And because there is no place in the universe that is totally silent, your auditory system has evolved a complex and automatic “volume control,” fine-tuned by development and experience, to keep most sounds off your cognitive radar unless they might be of use as a signal that something dangerous or wonderful is somewhere within the kilometer or so that your ears can detect.

This is where attention kicks in."
sound  sethhorowitz  2012  neuroscience  attention  listening  hearing 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Talk - Preoccupations
""How many people turn on the radio and leave the room, satisfied with the distant and sufficient noise? Is this absurd? Not in the least. What is essential is not that one particular person speak and another hear, but that, with no one in particular speaking and no one in particular listening, there should nonetheless be speech, and a kind of undefined promise to communicate, guaranteed by the incessant coming and going of solitary words." — Maurice Blanchot

The experience of hearing someone in the family turning on a radio somewhere in the house, and then to become aware that they are no longer attending to the radio, if they ever were, but the radio continues, is surely very common. Yet this is the first time I’ve ever read anyone remarking and reflecting on this.

‘There should nonetheless be speech … a[n] … undefined promise to communicate, guaranteed by the incessant coming and going of solitary words’.

Yes. That."
davidsmith  mauriceblanchot  sound  speech  radio  communication  listenting  hearing  promise  talk  talking  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything : Monkey See : NPR
"Culling is easy; it implies a huge amount of control & mastery. Surrender, on the other hand, is a little sad. That's the moment you realize you're separated from so much. That's your moment of understanding that you'll miss most of the music, dancing, books & films that there have ever been & ever will be, & right now, there's something being performed somewhere in the world that you're not seeing that you would love.

It's sad, but it's also ... great, really. Imagine if you'd seen everything good, or if you knew about everything good. Imagine if you really got to all the recordings & books and movies you're "supposed to see."…That would imply that all the cultural value the world has managed to produce since a glob of primordial ooze…can [be] gobble[d up]…in one lifetime…

If "well-read" means "not missing anything," then nobody has a chance. If "well-read" means "making a genuine effort to explore thoughtfully," then yes, we can all be well-read…"
culture  books  history  future  npr  music  films  cantkeepup  needfrequentremindersofthis  content  flow  control  culling  curation  curating  lindaholmes  rogerebert  humans  life  lifetime  reading  listening  watching  hearing  literature  science  fiction  nonfiction  beingwell-read  takethatedhirsch  culturalliteracy  beauty  insignificance  love  happiness  wisdom  thesumofhumanproduction  numbers  tv  television  art  cv 
april 2011 by robertogreco
TidBITS iPhone iPad iPod: iOS Hearing Aids... or, How to Buy Superman’s Ears
"Use Megaphone with the normal iPhone earphones, and the mic pickup sits just below your chin; you’ll hear only sound that’s directed at you. But switch your iPhone earphones for the standard iPod earphones, which don’t have a mic, and now you’ll be using the rather sensitive omnidirectional microphone that’s built into the iPhone and fourth-generation iPod touch.<br />
I tried this out for the first time while standing outside of a Starbucks, and suddenly I could hear the footsteps of anyone walking by. Snatches of a conversation at a 20-foot distance. I heard a siren, and then was shocked to see an ambulance pass by three blocks away. Traffic and ambient noise are also amplified, of course, but our brains have had a quarter-million years to learn how to separate out important sound frequencies, and that, plus my lip-reading abilities, turned me into a rather powerful eavesdropper."
iphone  ios  hearing  eavesdropping  sound  trythis  perception  hearing-aids  megaphone  applications  microphones  classideas  via:britta 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Brains Of Deaf People Rewire To "Hear" Music
"Deaf people sense vibration in the part of the brain that other people use for hearing – which helps explain how deaf musicians can sense music, and how deaf people can enjoy concerts and other musical events. "These findings suggest that the experience deaf people have when ‘feeling’ music is similar to the experience other people have when hearing music. The perception of the musical vibrations by the deaf is likely every bit as real as the equivalent sounds, since they are ultimately processed in the same part of the brain," says Dr. Dean Shibata, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington."
brain  deaf  hearing  neurology  neuroscience  technology  research  adaptive  composition  via:hrheingold 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Cochlear Implant Activation Videos - Daddy Types
"Over the last decade, maybe, cochlear implant technology has progressed to the point where it can produce significant impacts early in a kid's language and neural development.
deaf  cochlearimplants  parenting  culture  hearing 
may 2010 by robertogreco
What Do Preschools Have in Common with Bridges and Airports? - NurtureShock Blog - Newsweek.com
"Kids in noisy environments hear enough words that they learn to communicate. But they miss out on the additional language necessary to master the more sophisticated nuances of phonics, vocabulary, and structure."
reading  learning  preschool  schools  schooldesign  development  education  hearing  children  noise  tcsnmy  lcproject  sound  auditory 
november 2009 by robertogreco
SoundAMP hearing aid app for iPhone unleashed on our delicate ears
"SoundAMP works a lot like those Sonic Earz you see on the infomercials -- you run the app with your earbuds plugged in, and then sit back and enjoy listening to the sweet sounds of whatever's going on around you -- only louder."
iphone  applications  soundamp  sound  hearing  ios 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Smile -- And The World Can Hear You, Even If You Hide
"Smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can identify the type of smile based on sound alone, according to a study by scientists at the University of Portsmouth."
happiness  psychology  voice  perception  senses  hearing  communication  speaking  smiling 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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