Thursday, July 26, 2007

Music vibes as good as sex and food

Listening to music releases the same "feelgood" chemicals as eating and having sex, researchers have found.

The neuroscientist and former rock music producer Prof Daniel Levitin said music activates the brain area responsible for feeling pleasure, excitement and satisfaction. Research shows that music has specific effects on the body's physiology Prof Levitin, an associate professor of psychology at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, suggests that understanding how different types of music affects the body can help people choose songs or bands that could help them achieve tasks or goals. He found the brain of someone listening to music reacts in a similar way to that of a gambler when winning a bet, a skydiver about to leap out of a plane or someone who has just taken drugs.

Someone listening to songs or tunes they enjoy experiences a release of dopamine, the hormone linked to reward and happiness. This association has led Prof Levitin, who worked with Stevie Wonder and the Grateful Dead, to claim to have discovered the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" centre of the brain after collating research to be published this year.

He said: "The sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll scenario proves that music is at the heart of creating moods and reactions. Research shows that music has specific effects on the body's physiology, including heart rate, respiration, sweating, and mental activity. Music is effective at moderating arousal levels, concentration, and helping to regulate mood through its action on the brain's natural chemistry. People who can have music follow them around during their daily lives can use these properties of music effectively, to form a soundtrack for their day and their lives."

Music has been shown to cause activity in brain circuits associated with physical reactions, such as sweating, sexual arousal, and "shivers down the spine".Researchers used a variety of methods to measure the effect of music on the body, including heart rate, blood pressure, sweat response, breathing and brain wave activity. Scanning techniques have allowed scientists to look at changes in specific parts of the brain.

Dr Levitin found instrumental music such as classical, jazz, techno or bluegrass were better for people studying text to avoid becoming distracted. Energetic tunes with a tempo above 96 beats per minute were best for those cooking, cleaning or doing household chores.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


70% of clubbers, 68% of gig goers, and 44% of those who hang out in pubs with loud sound systems, display symptoms of hearing damage after a night out - including that irritating ringing in the ears and a dullness of hearing. Those stats, based on a survey of 1000 young music fans, come from the Royal National Institute For The Deaf, who are trying to raise awareness of the long term damage to hearing that can be caused by consuming excessively loud music.

RNID CEO Dr John Low told reporters this week: "We're all familiar with messages about practising safe sex and using suncream - but the lack of any guidance on loud music means this generation of music lovers could be facing a hearing loss timebomb. Our research shows most young people have experienced the first signs of permanent hearing damage after a night out, yet have no idea how to prevent it. With regular exposure to music at high volumes in clubs, gigs and bars, it's only too easy to clock up noise doses that could damage their hearing forever.

He continued: "Young people who love music need to be educated so they can make choices about the risk of exposure to loud noise and protect their hearing from premature damage. RNID is calling on the government to establish a recommended noise exposure level for audiences attending music venues and events, and to educate young people about noise as a public
health risk".

CMU Music News

Hear the World Initiative

Music is the universal language of mankind.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), American poet

Our ears give us access to the wonderful world of sounds. Hearing is crucial and connects people all over the world. Hearing enables us to communicate with other people and enjoy social activities. The ability to hear is such an integral part of life that most people take it for granted. Hearing is a gift, but do we place enough value on it?

What is Hear the World?
Hear the World is an initiative by the Phonak Group that aims to raise awareness of the topic of hearing and hearing loss and to promote good hearing all over the world. The goal of the Hear the World Initiative is to educate the general public about the importance of hearing, the social and emotional impacts of hearing loss and the benefits of available solutions for those with hearing impairment.

In addition to a long term communication program that targets opinion leaders and the general public, the initiative will support charitable organizations and projects focused on helping hearing impaired people.

To help people “hear the world”, Phonak created the Hear the World Foundation. Recognizing that quality of hearing significantly impacts quality of life, the foundation is committed to improving the well-being of people with hearing defects and to advancing measures towards the prevention of hearing loss.

Hear the World partners with musicians and music events to help the public appreciate their sense of hearing and provide the most innovative hearing solutions on the market.

This sound like a fantastic project. check the web site for more details.