We recently marveled at an audacious attempt to create sound maps from photographs. Let us go to the other end of the spectrum and examine an attempt by professional audio geeks to capture the sounds of our world.
The Nature Sound Map is a collaboration by a group of professional sound recordists, sound designers, and other audio professionals. They combine satellite imagery with professional grade recordings to bring us an interactive map of the natural sounds of our wonderful planet.
You could take in a quiet evening in a pine forest in the Canary Islands, or you could listen to a storm in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. You could listen to what Arctic divers hear in Lake Inari, Finland, or soak in the sounds by a Siberian river habitat. The quality of these recordings is simply top notch, and a decent set of speakers or headphones is all you will need to get transported to one of these exotic locales. The recordings sound great for a reason—several of them are ‘binaural’ recordings made with more than one microphone to capture the true ambience.
One of the interesting and fascinating aspects of the website are the many ‘single species’ recordings that have been painstakingly curated by this group. Breaching humpback whales in Norway, the beautiful song of the Laysan Albatross on the Midway Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, gulls on the ice in the north eastern tip of Russia, and Black Redstarts singing in Kazakhstan are all such examples of the pure acoustic signature of our co-inhabitants on this planet.
Whether you are a fan of birds, nature, or natural phenomena like rain and storms, you will find plenty to appreciate the sounds of our lives. These sounds should also remind us why protecting our hearing is so important and giving the gift of hearing to our patients so critical. Sound is, after all, one of the vital elements that makes our world complete and completely wonderful.