Sensitive Hearing in an Auraltypical World

Drever, John L.. 2015. 'Sensitive Hearing in an Auraltypical World'. In: Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics, CRASSH. University of Cambridge. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Ten years ago I (ear)waxed lyrical on the deep, seemingly indelible ties of the sounds of Dartmoor with its inhabitants. In this bucolically-inclined endeavour I added a sonic turn to Tuan’s topophilia: “fleeting visual pleasure; the sensual delight of physical contact; the fondness for place because it is familiar, because it is home and incarnates the past, because it evokes pride of ownership or of creation; joy in things because of animal health and vitality." (Tuan 1974) My topophonophilia stressed what I had witnessed on Dartmoor as, the affirmative relationship between place, the sensation of sound and sentiment.

Those of us who research and practice everyday soundscapes tend to tacitly extol the positive attributes of sound and hearing with relation to space and place, where listening is prioritised over hearing. We talk of how through sound we connect, locate, embody, discern and immerse. From the findings of my more recent research I am obliged to propose that the contrary is also a reality for many: sound isolates, excludes, disconnects, disembodies and dislocates from the material and social world. Sound hurts!

Bringing audiology into the fore, in this talk I will propose a new paradigm for situating hearing that extends from an idealized clinical model of hearing, the otologically normal (BS ISO 226:2003), to a socio-cultural concept of the auraltypical. In conclusion I will call for a new agenda of auraldiversity and aural relativism within sound studies, sound practice and acoustics.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Auraltypical, Auraldiversity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


11 July 2015["eprint_fieldopt_dates_date_type_shown" not defined]

Event Location:

University of Cambridge

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2015 12:41

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 09:33


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