Audio and Sonic Soundscapes
Audio is a really powerful and cost effective tool enhancing an experience as well as distracting and entertaining
Audio can be standalone – think bespoke music tracks or soundscapes – or it can be combined with (mood) lighting or artwork design. Sound can also be combined with ambient light. This works especially well in areas where children need to be calm and distracted such as MRI rooms, X-ray areas or anaesthetic areas. If the area is suitable, sound can also be combined with visual projections on the walls, ceiling or floor. Together sound and visual motifs can create a gentle and magical environment to help calm and distract child patients.
Another way to use sonic soundscapes is to complement vinyl illustrations. We have used sound to accompany a large-scale vinyl installation of a farmyard scene. We created an enveloping surround sound experience by installing multiple speakers in the ceiling along the corridor. The multitrack playback system allows us to have full control over the speakers and the audio. This enables us to direct the sound exactly where we wanted it. For example, all speakers will play the ambient soundscape but we are able to send certain sounds only to certain speakers. As a result, the speaker closest to the illustration of the duck will not only play the ambient sound but also give a quacking sound. This creates a dynamic and interactive soundscape along the corridor. As the patients moves along the corridor they can predict the next farmyard animal from the sound they can hear. Or play a game to guess what sound the next animal will make and check if they were right when they get closer to it.
Audio, music and soundscapes are excellent ways to help relax and distract patients subliminally.