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There are currently 9 million people living in the UK with undiagnosed hearing loss.
Hearing Birdsong is an immersive, audioscape installation, created with the sounds of birdsong to engage participants with the health of their hearing. It is a patient-led project that brings together art, science and technology to encourage early identification and intervention in a playful and non-threatening way.
We have worked with audio experience designers at the Dyson School of Design Engineering to modulate three familiar bird calls to match the frequency bands heard during a traditional hearing test.
These songs are played over woodland background noises from speakers concealed inside a series of handmade bird boxes.
Participants can choose to enter the free installation and experience the birdsong soundscape. For participants struggling to hear any of the bird calls, this can be an indicator that further investigation into their hearing is required. A member of the Hearing Birdsong team will always be on hand to offer free advice.
Our approach to testing hearing loss has remained unchanged for over 80 years. Whilst clinical tests provide highly accurate results, engagement with testing is poor. We believe the familiar and reassuring sounds of nature could offer an alternative to the mechanical clicks and beeps of a traditional hearing test.
Entering into the Birdsong installation might transport one back to a nostalgic childhood memory.
Maybe it will bring a moment of much-needed tranquillity during a hectic city day.
What’s certain, is that each participant will experience something unique, powerful and memorable.
Up to six speakers can be interconnected to form the audioscape installation. Each Birdbox speaker functions independently, with its own battery power supply, loudspeaker and digital receiver.
Each box is controlled via a fully bespoke software interface that will both educate participants on the topic, and gather helpful design insights for the project’s development.
The system can be expanded for larger, more ambitious activations, or reduced to a single birdbox for more intimate demonstrations. The installation requires no fixings or power supply. It leaves no trace and generates no waste.