Hearing Birdsong

Hearing Birdsong is an immersive, audioscape, 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 of hearing loss in a humane, gentle 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 of a traditional hearing test. These songs are played over woodland background noises from a series of handmade bird boxes. 

For participants struggling to hear any of the bird calls, this can be an indicator that further medical investigation into their hearing is required. 

We are currently developing a fully bespoke software interface that will both educate participants on the topic, and gather helpful design insights for the project’s development. 

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. 

When you undertake a conventional hearing test, you are participating in an antiquated system to which audiologists are deeply bound.  By contrast, entering into the Hearing 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. 

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Multiple speakers can be interconnected, creating a dynamic audioscape installation. Each Birdbox speaker functions independently, with it’s own battery power supply, loudspeaker and digital receiver.

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 suppy. It leaves no trace and generates no waste.