“In so many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of nature for human health,” said Rachel Buxton, one of the lead authors and post-doctoral researcher in Carleton’s Department of Biology. She was previously a postdoctoral research fellow at CSU, where her research used large-scale acoustic recordings to tackle soundscape conservation issues, working with the Sound and Light Ecology Team.
“As traffic has declined during quarantine, many people have connected with soundscapes in a whole new way – noticing the relaxing sounds of birds singing just outside their window,” she said. “How remarkable that these sounds are also good for our health.”
Amber Pearson, one of the lead authors and an associate professor at Michigan State University, said the findings highlight that, in contrast to the harmful health effects of noise, natural sounds may actually bolster mental health.
“Most of the existing evidence we found is from lab or hospital settings,” she said. “There is a clear need for more research on natural sounds in our everyday lives and how these soundscapes affect health.”