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The Listening Test: Can You Hear the Hidden Choir?
Has this every happened to you? You're walking down the street, eating a muffin—which, like all muffins, is really a cupcake with added bran—while simultaneously talking on the cellphone:
You: I'll meet you [chew, chew] at six at the restaurant.
Your husband: Honey, I told you before [wind blows, the muffin paper crinkles in your hand] the dinner is at [boom-boom of woofers from a passing car] eight o' [dog barks, somebody else's cell phone rings playing "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry) clock.
You: Right! [fire engine wails by] Got it!
Your husband: Great.
You: Six o'clock! [Child cries over skinned knee, disturbed man screams at the corner about the radio signals in his back molars] See you there! Don't be late!
Everybody seems to talk about how fast the world moves now. But rarely has anyone pointed out how loud is it—and how this changes us as listeners. Do we really hear each other anymore? More importantly, do we hear the small subtle noises that create such texture in a day—the clink of ice in a glass, the velvet whirl of the fan?
Last month celebrated sound expert Julian Treasure gave a TED talk on how to become a better listener. One of his exercises is to take a few minutes and savor the "hidden choir" in the everyday—for example a clothes dryer that thumps to rhythm of a waltz worth dancing to. Discover these sound secrets—and four others—that help you tune into the sound of your own life.
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