At a time when more people are spending more time indoors, it can be head-spinning to consider the health benefits of simply going outside. That can involve forest bathing or getting a certain number of steps in — but there are other benefits to being outdoors, or even having the outdoors in earshot, that are a little more passive in nature. Like, say, listening to birds as they sing.
There’s a certain charm to that, but there’s also a growing body of work suggesting that hearing birds sing can have health benefits. Last year, The Washington Post‘s Richard Sima pointed to two recent studies that pointed to the health benefits of birdsong. More specifically, the studies revealed and clarified the ways in which hearing birds singing bolstered the mental health of the listeners — in some cases, reducing levels of paranoia and anxiety.
There are technological ramifications to these findings as well. Last month, a Euronews story focused on AI technology that could filter out some background noises but not others — meaning that someone jogging in a park could listen to their favorite podcast while also letting in the sound of whatever birds happen to be in the area.
More recently, The Washington Post‘s Cathy Free chronicled a former pay phone in Takoma Park, Maryland that’s been transformed into a way for passers-by to hear the sounds of several of the area’s avian residents.
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David Schulman, the musician behind the phone, told the Post, “Once I put the phone out there, it just took off.” Given the benefits that can come from listening to birds sing their songs, it’s not hard to see (or hear) what the appeal might be.