Most of us take our sense of hearing for granted, but these moving videos of humans hearing for the first time in their lives compel us to take a step back and appreciate the wonder of this natural ability. From a 7-week-old baby boy with hearing loss to a 40-year-old woman who suffered all her life from Usher’s Syndrome, you can witness the very moment when their worlds begin to change dramatically.

Whether a person’s first time hearing is later in their years or early in their development, these videos show us that the ability to hear is a true gift that can move and astound us.

Image courtesy of YouTube

The solution to blocking out annoying and distracting noise? Adding more sound. Try these white noise and, softer, pink noise tracks to enhance focus or fall asleep.

White Noise
Use this playlist to stay focused. By blocking out the distractions around you – you’ll see a noticeable difference in the quantity and quality of work you can achieve.

Pink Noise
When I have trouble falling asleep I use pink noise for an uninterrupted rest. Experience pink noise for yourself using this playlist.

Whether you’re getting pumped up for the big game, trying to hit a deadline or drifting off to sleep; what you are listening to can have a profound effect on how you are feeling. Try these playlists to suit or shift your mood.

Be Optimistic
Enjoy this playlist full of uplifting and enlightening songs!

Be Calm
Tested on a wide awake wisdom teeth surgery and a last minute presentation prep, if you’re stressed, answering emails at home late at night this list is perfect. Genre free and roaming it is designed to put you at ease and let your brain wander.

Be Creative
Designed to create new brain connections this playlist is perfect background music for a group brainstorm with medium tempo and interesting textures. Brings energy to the room without creative distractions.

Be Productive
Get it done — minimalist, progressive rock, the kind of beat that keeps you moving without the distractions. The prefect background music to keep you focused on the path forward.

Be Motivated
The kind of anthemic songs you need to encourage you to put your best foot forward. You can rule the world with this intense playlist.

Be Inspired
Full of positivity with an upbeat tempo and organic instrumentation this list is designed to inspire.

Be Active
For a work-out, a pre-game, prepping for a confrontation — this playlist is all about getting your blood pumping and adrenaline flowing with intense tracks.

How Hospital Noise Can Sabotage Care

Hospitals are a place you go to heal, but their sonic environments can hurt your healing process. Beeping alarms intended to alert workers to emergencies are occurring too often and too loudly. This leads to stress among patients, and healthcare workers are becoming so desensitized that critical alarms are often ignored or silenced. Known as “Alarm Fatigue”, this worsening problem results in hundreds of deaths annually in the US alone. How can hospitals turn down the volume and tune into the needs of their patients?

Music may be created by humans for humans, but a closer look at the animal world shows that music and man-made sound can have a reach further and more profound than imagined. From a bevy zof cows who follow a spirited rendition of Lorde on a trombone to elephants delighted by—and dancing to—a Bach piece on violin, these moving videos show that sounds created by man not only affect animals, but captivate and inspire them. Indeed, they give a whole new meaning to the idea of music being a universal language.

However, the creation of captivating sound isn’t a one-way street. This extraordinary example from BBC’s The Life of Birds demonstrates that just as man listens closely to bird song, some birds are finely attuned to human sound, too. Here, the lyre bird takes man-made noises and mimics them in its natural habitat—and in effect, volleys them back at us, giving us a true reflection of sound.

Just as animals can be affected and moved by man-made sounds, so, too, can humans be mesmerized by sounds emitted by animals. When you listen to this whale sing, you experience both the deeply moving power and universality of music.

Music plays a subliminal but integral part of the film preview. But you may not realize just how big a role it plays in setting the stage for a movie until the trailer is stripped of its context and re-spliced with something dramatically different. These three classic movie previews use music to turn the premises on their heads and — wait for it — flip the script.

With the help of some clever editing and the right song, the music helps transform a horror movie to a comedy, and a family classic to a nightmarish scenario.

Not to be outdone, this video trades in a slapstick knee-slapper for a heart-pounding nail biter with the help of the suspenseful music from Inception.

Humans react faster to sound than any other stimulus. It affects how we perceive the people and world around us in persuasive ways. But it’s not just what we say that makes an impact—it’s how we say it. Take “Uptalking”—raising up the intonation on the final syllable—most popularized as Valley Girl speak. While it may sound cool or endearing, it turns out that Uptalking and its opposite, “Vocal Fry”—the low, vibratory sound at the end of sentences, can damage your credibility. Ladies beware: this affects you most. This infographic looks at the origins, effects and remedies for these popular speech habits.

Just as brands use sound to make an impression, the biggest movie studios in Hollywood have carefully crafted sounds that become instantly recognizable to moviegoers. Like Oz working behind the velvet curtain, sound designers use technology to mix familiar noises into something new, distinct, and unforgettable. Take for instance, the frightening T-rex roar in the original Jurassic Park, which is an amalgam of elephant, tiger and alligator roars (plus the breaths of a whale), or the proton packs in Ghostbusters, a filtered blend of noises from an engine turbine. Watch this video and listen: how many of these sounds you recognize?

So, sounds can excite movie lovers, and similarly, they can also inspire TV watchers. Devoted fans of BBC’s Dr. Who will recognize the singular sound of the departing TARDIS—a sound so beloved, it’s been incorporated into a cookie jar.

One instantly recognizable sound that’s been used so frequently in movies that it’s become an inside-joke is the Wilhelm scream, a stock sound first used in the film Distant Drums (1951). Since then, it’s been repurposed in many movies for scenes depicting a man that’s been shot, falling, hurt in battle, and much more. See how many times you’ve heard this trademark scream in this compilation below.

Brands employ music and sound to tell a story, connect with people on a more profound level, and ultimately, gain customer loyalty (and certainly, a boost in sales doesn’t hurt!). Increasingly, the sophisticated use of musical collaborations, technology, and savvy marketing basics blur the lines between branding and entertainment.

First and foremost, brands use music as a storytelling tool—in these cases, Activia promoting healthy children in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, or the inimitable sounds of GE machinery—and partnerships with big-name musicians expose your brand to a bigger audience. Brands also use music as a visceral and emotional bridge to the audience; you’ll see in the second video a sound manipulation technique called looping, which works to riveting effect.

Some brands go above and beyond with music by creating a joyful experience for the customer. From something as simple as altering a scan at a grocery store checkout to creating a luxurious, immersive theatrical experience in the heart of London, these two big brands harness the power of music in making an indelible impression.

Music also plays an integral part of engaging an audience—an important and seemingly Sisyphean challenge when you’re creating an airline safety video. Virgin Airlines, however, created a high-energy video of song and dance so entertaining it has been viewed on YouTube over 11 million times since October 2013.


Image courtesy of Virgin Airlines.

Sound and music connect deeply and directly to our emotions, a fact harnessed in every song, symphony and sonic moment. It also allows film- makers to access and dialogue with their audience at a deep emotional level, the most apparent of which is in Horror, where physiological Fight or Flight responses are “enjoyed” in the comfort of the movie theater.

When we’re not running from a real life menace, the ability to enjoy fear enables us to try new activities, to explore novel environments, and to be daredevils. In this infographic we’ll look at the weird and wonderful world of film and foley — the growls and screams and lightsaber swishes, how they are made and why they give you goosebumps.