The Consequence of Sound

Not so careless whispers...

 | By

Summer is officially here and school is over. You finally have the time to tackle everything on your to-do list, right? Really, who are we trying to fool? If you’re like me, you will either spend your time watching everything available on Netflix or wading through the abyss that is the internet. I don’t blame you. In today’s society, there is an incessant need to be aware of trends and relevant stories. We are very fortunate to have videos, memes, gifs, and other forms of social media at our disposal in order to help us stay caught up.

Recently, I was informed about a video trend that is gaining popularity. The topic of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and its effects are showing up all over YouTube and Reddit.

ASMR is a tricky feeling to describe. From what I understand, it’s a tingle in your brain, a kind of pleasurable headache that can creep down your spine. It’s a shortcut to a meditative state. Not everyone gets this feeling, and though some people can get the tingles through sheer force of will, most depend on external “triggers” to set them off. Triggers can include getting a massage or a haircut or a manicure, or hearing someone talk in a soothing tone of voice.

The subject of ASMR itself is only a few years old. There have been forums and discussion on the matter but, the term was not officially coined until 2010. Shortly after that, an ASMR Research & Support website was launched by Jennifer Allen with an aim to support scientific study of the sensory phenomenon. With further research, ASMR may eventually be categorized as an exercise in mindfulness meditation. Further scientific investigation of this and the available evidence may even reveal additional therapeutic potential.

There are countless “Whisperer” videos on YouTube but, those are just one branch of a subculture of ASMR making, discovering, and promoting videos for their triggering properties. Some videos unintentionally cause the tingles—makeup tutorials and vlogs from people with deep, resonant voices. Other videos are more calculated. There’s a whole industry of YouTubers who have created hundreds of videos where they talk softly, eat Oreos while tapping conspicuously on a mug, or pretend to be travel agents, doctors or hair stylists—and people love them.

Of course, after all this new-found information, I had to try it for myself. With over 34,000 subscribers and 12 million plus views, I chose to view a few of the GentleWhispering videos. I can honestly say that I did not necessarily feel a tingling sensation however, the videos did put me in a relaxed, euphoric state. Some of her videos are designed for specific purposes. The part that I found most interesting was the 3D microphone that she used. At one point in the video, the sound of her heels on the hardwood floor sounded like she was in the room with me. Looking back on my experience, I would like to test this out with some of my friends to see what and how they felt while hearing certain sounds. So, if you have any extra time on your hands and want to see if you are affected by weird sounds, I would highly recommend that you give this a try.