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World Listening Day

World Listening Day

Shhh… do you hear that? It’s the sound of World Listening Day on July 18. World Listening Day is hosted every year by the World Listening Project, a nonprofit organization that is “devoted to understanding the world and its natural environment, societies, and cultures through the practice of listening and field recording.” They explore acoustic ecology, a discipline that studies the relationship between humans and the natural world as mediated through sound. So quiet down, open up your ears, and get ready to study soundscapes on World Listening Day.

HISTORY OF WORLD LISTENING DAY
World Listening Day falls on July 18 to honor the birthday of Raymond Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer and environmentalist who is seen as the founder of acoustic ecology. Born on July 18, 1933, he developed his World Soundscape Project, which laid the fundamental ideas and practices of acoustic ecology in the 1970s. World Listening Day was established in 2010, and each year the holiday has a specific theme tied to it. Past themes include ‘H20,’ ‘Sounds Lost & Found,’ and ‘Listen to You!’ 2017’s theme was ‘Listening to the Ground,’ which honored the life and legacy of American composer Pauline Oliveros, who once said “Sometimes we walk on the ground, sometimes on sidewalks or asphalt, or other surfaces. Can we find ground to walk on and can we listen for the sound or sounds of ground? Are we losing ground? Can we find new ground by listening for it?”

Since the holiday’s inception, thousands of people from around the world have participated in its celebration. The theme for World Listening Day 2021 is ‘The Unquiet Earth,’ created by Lisbon-based filmmaker, curator, and organizer Raquel Castro.

Listening is indeed an art that requires undivided attention and patience from a person and benefits another who is in need of it. Listening is also beneficial for the listener, improving their listening skills and sharpening their awareness of their surroundings. As important as our sense of hearing is, we often don’t use it effectively, blocking out most sounds and voices, and not really listening to the message.

TRADITIONS OF THE DAY
With the hustle and bustle of daily life, we rarely stop to not just hear but actually listen to our surroundings — the sounds around us, what other people are trying to communicate, and even our inner voice. Technology and non-stop hustling prevent us from shutting out the noise and listening intently. On World Listening Day, this is exactly what is practiced.

Talking less and listening more is practiced. Listening to friends, family, and having heart-to-heart conversations with patience are encouraged on this day. Comforting others and being there for them by listening to them vent is therapeutic and beneficial for both the listener and the speaker. Staying silent and contemplating the world around us by listening, calms and soothes our thoughts. The aim of the day is to cultivate better listening and understanding, and learning from this underrated act.

5 FACTS ABOUT LISTENING
1.Women are better listeners
Research shows that women engage both lobes of their brains for listening, whereas men use only half of their brains.

2.Listening to music helps
Listening to music creates a stress-free environment, for example, listening to music before surgery reduces cortisol levels, and it helps some students relax and study better before an exam.

3.Listening can help lose weight!
Researchers have found that listening to relaxing music while eating at a restaurant resulted in diners consuming 175 fewer calories.

4.Listening is a skill
Less than 2% of people have had formal education on how to effectively listen.

5.Prerequisites to listening
To become an effective listener, it is important to not assume, refrain from making judgments, and hold our thoughts to really listen to what the other person is trying to convey.

References:

“World Listening Day” │ https://nationaltoday.com/world-listening-day/

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