Doctor's Orders

Doctor's Orders

It's recently been speculated that music has a fountain of youth effect on listeners. Founded on the principles that came into being during the "classical music makes you smart" era a few years ago, further research has shown that the "real age" (another phenomenon sweeping the internet in the form of quizzes attached to webmail portals) is younger for those who listen to music and attend concerts regularly. Evidently, these benefits are specific to music, so sports fans and moviegoers are out of luck.

Someone should inform those researchers of the great wealth of proof they might find in an industry made up of people who would go to concerts and listen to music even if they weren't paid to do so. It goes without saying that many of the professionals in this niche are musicians themselves, and continue to practice and perform regularly throughout their lives. We are an industry immersed in good music. I've noticed that even the hold music on most of my readers' phone lines is infinitely better than the uncreative synthesized loops employed by utility companies. So take heart, you're getting younger every day.

Actually, it's possible that the comparatively new industry of sound reinforcement will play a role in the emerging health science based on the ancient art of musical performance. Calling themselves "musical pharmacologists," according to a recent article in The New York Times, some proponents of this new science inspire healing by playing proprietary music through custom music systems in medical facilities.

Of course, we don't need a study to tell us about the healing power of music. A great number of music systems and home theater setups have already been installed to add another dimension to the healing process in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Additionally, doctors and surgeons have long known the benefits of music playback in their work environment. Still, there may be added impetus to commission advanced audio system installations if musical pharmacology takes hold and high-fidelity music is prescribed in regular doses.

This possibility goes beyond profit margins and into the territory of sharing what we already know: good sound plus good music brings an enhanced sense of well-being. This latest discovery merely reinforces the concept of sound healing found in meditation practice for centuries. But if new technology and new science can bring the benefits to a wider audience in these troubled times, then let's start listening to classical music to get smarter really fast.

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.