Sound matters. And in a recent global survey conducted by Widex, one surprising sound was consistently ranked within the top three most valuable across all cultures: bird song. However, according to WSA Head of Audiology Lise Henningsen, the universally-appreciated sound of a singing bird is also one the first diminished sounds of hearing loss, given its high-frequency tones.
“The deep appreciation for bird song spans oceans, borders, and cultures, but due to its high frequency, people are deprived of it at the onset of hearing loss,” she said. “And because hearing loss happens so gradually, over decades, oftentimes you may never realize that a sound you so instinctively cherished has disappeared. Hearing aids help us socialize and communicate, yet they also ensure that we can continue to appreciate life’s subtle and natural beauties regardless of our age.”
Related article: Widex MOMENT Hearing Aids Now Available
To conduct the survey, Widex interviewed a total of 1,621 participants between the ages of 40-70 across the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, China, and South Korea—with approximately 200 interviews per country. The survey featured open-ended questions, prompting participants to list the top three sounds that mattered to them, along with a sound that matters most in the specific category of nature.
Across the three categories of sound, music, and voices expectedly took the top two spots—with bird song unexpectedly clinching the third. Surprisingly, 75% of countries polled included bird song in their top three—out of a total of 20—general sounds of value. When prompted about which sounds in nature specifically were most important, 42% of respondents listed bird song. In fact, all eight countries identified bird song as their top natural sound—with the UK listing bird song as their number one most valued sound across all categories, even over music and voices.
Recalling the first time she stepped out into nature wearing hearing aids, professional wildlife bird photographer Judy Zehenener said, “It sounded like I had entered a rainforest. I was hearing bird songs that I hadn’t in years. Yes, the lower toned calls of the bluejay and the crow, but also the higher pitched songs of the finch and sparrow. Without my hearing aids, I was unknowingly missing out on so much the richness and beauty of nature. With hearing aids, the painting is fully restored.”
Widex recently introduced the WIDEX MOMENT hearing aid, which offers “the industry’s most natural hearing experience by combining the latest in AI and machine learning with two ultra-fast signal pathways to enable wearers to experience the complete spectrum of sound” – birdsongs and otherwise!
Images: Widex, Judy Zehenener Photography