For my birthday my family gifted me an introductory two weeks at a local wellness center. Unlimited classes were included so I made the rounds: guided meditation, sound baths, guided breathing, even an astrology class! You name it, I tried it! And it was terrific.
Before each class I let the teachers know about my hearing loss and they were always welcoming and willing to assist as asked. Even so, some experiences were easier to enjoy than others. My favorite was the sound bath.
What is a Sound Bath?
A sound bath is a deeply-immersive, full-body listening experience that can have therapeutic and restorative effects. The class usually begins with some guided breathing, but most of the experience is passive. You lie down in a comfortable position on a yoga mat or meditation cushion with your head on a small pillow. An eye mask is available so you can cover your eyes to avoid distractions. The practitioner uses different instruments like tuning forks, gongs, chimes, and crystal or Tibetan singing bowls to generate overlapping sounds and vibrations.
Many of you are probably thinking, “If I cover my eyes, how will I hear?” and yes, most of us use our eyes to speechread, but a sound bath is different. There is very little talking, and the speech that is present is not particularly important to the experience. It is all about the vibrations.
As I relaxed in the dark room, I felt the sound envelope me. Every instrument has its own set of frequencies—some high and others low. As each tone receded another took its place until there was a sea of overlapping vibrations from all areas of the sound spectrum. I felt the sound vibrating in my body. It was incredibly relaxing and soothing, but also energizing. I was hooked.
Tips for an Enjoyable Sound Bath Experience
The first sound bath can be a bit nerve wracking and with your eyes covered, you may feel vulnerable because you have given up your speechreading superpower. Here are some tips to help make your sound bath experience a success.
1. Arrive early
One of my favorite Hearing Hacks is to arrive early for everything! And a sound bath is no exception. Arriving early will give you time to speak with the teacher about your communication needs and to find the best seat in the room. Pick a spot right in front of the teacher to give you the best chance at hearing some of the spoken cues, but remember, the spoken word is not primary to the experience.
2. Use tech tools if you have them
If you have a remote microphone, ask the teacher to wear it. Captioning apps are less well suited to this experience.
3. Make the experience your own.
While most people enjoy reclining and closing their eyes for a sound bath experience, you can do it your own way. Keep your eyes open. Sit up instead. Simply alert the teacher ahead of time so they are not surprised. Nobody else is focused on you so feel free to do whatever it takes to make yourself feel confident and comfortable.
4. Ask for a tap on the shoulder
If you are worried that you won’t notice when the class ends, consider asking the teacher to give you a gentle tap when it is time to sit up so you don’t need to worry about missing an important verbal cue.
5. Make peace with imperfection
If the teacher is a talker, you will likely miss a lot of the spoken word, but who cares? Accept it and enjoy the portions that are accessible to you. The goal is relaxation.
Sound baths are not for everyone, but if you are looking for a new and interesting way to experience sound, consider giving one a try. I plan to add sound baths to my self-care routine whenever I can.
Readers, would you try a sound bath meditation?
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!
Never miss a post! Sign up for email alerts.
Book: Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss
Documentary: We Hear You
11 thoughts on “Enjoying a Sound Bath with Hearing Loss”
Seems intriguing! SurroundSound!
Exactly! Give it a try some time! Thanks for your comment.
My yoga studio added Sound Baths last summer and they are sold out every time. My daughter has done it and loves it. It really calms her anxiety. I was worried about the hearing loss and missing anything important but your review has motivated me to try it. They also just added Yogastrology but that sounded too far ‘out there’ for me. did you do that one also?
Definitely worth giving it a try! Let me know how you like it. I tried one astrology class, and it was fun, but I probably won’t do another. Enjoy!
Shari is there an app that would be available to use at home. Sounds wonderful… along with My Forest Retreat book of being in nature to relax and refuel.
There are many meditation apps that include sound baths, but I’m not sure if it would be as effective. Definitely worth trying though! Thanks for the idea.
Shari, can you identify the spa. It sounds like a wonderful gift for my wife.
Here is the link. It’s terrific! Thanks for your interest.
sounds interesting. my concern would be the tonal ranges. Some tones are extremally difficult and often painful for me .. in my bimodal configuration.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.