The Akoio Soundscape Journal was designed as a free-to-use tool that helps us measure the impact of sound on our everyday lives. At Akoio, we know that sound affects almost every part of your life. Taking control of what you hear and what you don’t — your soundscape — changes everything.
In a previous post, I shared my unfortunate “middle-of-the-night-music-vacation-disaster”. It opened my eyes (and ears!) to the importance of being more proactive with managing my sound environment. In this article, I want to share the details about how I used the Akoio Soundscape Journal, and the insights I gained.
The Akoio Soundscape Journal: Getting started
First, I downloaded the journal (free!) and printed a couple of copies. Why multiple copies? Well, I know how messy I can be, and I wanted to be able to transfer all my “notes to self” at the end of the week over to a clean copy that I could reference easily. So, one to keep, one to throw away.
Then, I put it on my kitchen counter — right by my Keurig, so that I’d remember to start using it first thing the next morning. (Sound of coffee dripping = 😊) Just having the journal in front of me helped me be more focused on noticing my everyday sounds. Here is one thing that struck me right away: If it is something pleasant that I enjoy hearing, I think of it as a “sound.” If it’s something annoying or distracting, I call it “noise.”
Tracking sound (and noise) throughout the day
I kept the soundscape journal with me as I went through my day. Working from home can be a real “soundscape adventure.” I noted pleasant things like windchimes, the trickle of the fountain in my pond, and the breeze in the trees as I sat outside on my deck. Moving indoors to work as the afternoon heat set in, I noted entirely different things. The lack of traffic noise, the hum of the refrigerator, the beep of the washing machine alerting me that I need to transfer wet clothes into the dryer. Beeping is a distraction when I am trying to read.
A soundscape journal surprise
Having the journal handy reminded me to note sounds throughout the day. After a couple of days, I noticed one thing that came up repeatedly: barking. My dogs (I love them, really I do!) often whine for my attention and bark (intensely!) when a package arrives on the front porch.
They bark if someone rings the doorbell. They bark when another dog walks by on the sidewalk. Sometimes they bark for what seems like no reason at all. (Of course, their hearing is far better than mine, so they are alert to things I am not.) They bark loudly, and they bark a lot.
Since pets are known to bring comfort and ease tension, it was a bit of a surprise to me how much my dogs actually stress me with their barking. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 40% of American households have a dog, or dogs. So, I know I am not alone in this dilemma. We love them. They bring a lot of companionship and love to our lives. We even enjoy the “sound” of their playful barking as we interact with them. But the barking can sometimes become a distracting or annoying “noise” for many pet owners, including me.
More soundscape journal discoveries
Because I noted this in my soundscape journal multiple times a day, I saw that I needed to take some action to improve my daily soundscape. I watched training videos on YouTube by Cesar Millan, read articles on dog training techniques, and I even found local dog trainers that might be able to help where I wasn’t making much headway. But the journal gave me another idea. I discovered that adding the sounds of relaxing music helped. Even if it’s just on very low, it can offset the whining, not to mention traffic and other outside noises.
Without seeing it in black and white, I don’t think I would have realized how much of an issue this was in our home. And that’s the beauty of the soundscape journal. It helps you laser focus on the sounds around you, which gives you greater awareness on what you can change to create a healthier sound environment.
Discover your soundscapes
I’m very grateful for the Akoio Soundscape Journal. Since doing this exercise, I have made conscious efforts to work on training my dogs, I turn on relaxing music more often, and I have changed settings on my washing machine! (Did you know you can silence those? But please don’t blame me if you forget to transfer those soggy clothes!) It all adds up to a more peaceful day, and a soundscape that makes me — and my dogs — feel better.
Everyone on the team at Akoio is passionate about managing sound for better health and wellness. We know that soundscape journaling will help you, too and we can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Download the Akoio Soundscape Journal now — and happy listening!