What Makes a Symphony? Depends on Who’s Listening.

IWBI Sound Concept lead Ethan Bourdeau shares the meaning, power and opportunity behind World Listening Day
Jul 18, 2023 11:35 AM ET
Ethan Bourdeau listening

Audio File

By Liz Peters

Do you hear what I hear? Are you listening?

July 18 marks the birth of R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer and founder of the movement of acoustic ecology, which focuses on how humans interact with and respond to the sounds in their environment. Deemed World Listening Day in 2010, it raises awareness of the importance of listening to the world around us–and a time to hear something new.

Within the WELL Building Standard, the Sound concept aims to bolster people’s health and well-being through the identification and mitigation of acoustical comfort parameters that shape our experiences in the built environment, promoting reduction of harmful or distracting noise through various building elements, surface finish treatments and enhanced noise control.

IWBI caught up recently with Ethan Bourdeau, Sound Concept Lead on our Standard Development team, to discuss the nuts and bolts of sound, how it differs from noise and the ultimate power of listening–with some inspiration to take to heart (and our ears!).


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