The Unique Perspective That Storytelling in Binaural Brings

Storytelling 2.0

One of the rarest talents in the world today is that of the gripping storyteller.  Hearing a tale from a golden-tongued orator full of passion has the power to kindle a bonfire of inspiration.

Whose heart didn’t surge at the end of the film “300” when Dilios expertly rallies his troops for the final battle against Xerxes?  If I were handed a spear at the end of his moving speech, I’d have jumped through the movie screen and joined their ranks on the spot!

I connected with that moment because I was thinking and feeling for others. I was experiencing empathy. And empathy is essential to connecting with a storyteller or a story. The more I can connect, the more captivating the story can be, and the more people who can connect with your story.

3D Audio is an incredible key to connecting with others.  With binaural playback, you are literally standing in someone else’s shoes.  If you want to be in the shoes of a woman in the throes of passion, the book publishing giant HarperCollins has just the audio book for you.

They have published one of the first 3D Sound book extracts recorded in binaural sound.  They are using it to enhance the spice factor in a romance novel called “A Royal Vow of Convenience.”

No, that story may not change the world.  Sadly, technology alone does not deeply connect us.  No one walked out of a movie theater saying, “Ever since I saw Transformers 4 in IMAX 3D, I am a changed man!”  It turns out that good writing is a critical factor. Combine that with a captivating technology like binaural and you can have an audience glued.

A compelling story & an effective medium:

The reviews of the 3D Sound theater production “Encounter” on Broadway reveal a more profound experience which is felt physically and emotionally.  More importantly, theater-goers describe it as if they were in the story itself, “lightheaded, exhausted, baffled, and invigorated as if it had been you.” – New York Times.

The audience experiences, more effectively than ever, what it’s like to be someone else who is struggling.  TV ratings prove that we care about other people… like the Kardashians.

However, if we experience life for a moment as someone different than us, who is worse off than us, someone suffering, in need, or in pain… it makes us more open and vulnerable.  Yet, in the end, we begin to understand and sympathize on another level.


A new kind of education:

1. Gaming

Hardcore gamers know that some of the greatest stories are being told on game consoles, and not just in paperbacks.  Sound designers are adding amazing realism to the experience by going beyond mere 3D sound effects.

The upcoming game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, is using binaural audio to inflict players with the same schizophrenic voices the main character deals with.  What better way to empathize with a character than actually dealing with their pains and demons right along with them?

Diligent research was conducted with people who suffer from auditory voice hallucinations so that the voices you hear in your head are as close to the real thing as it gets.

2. Empathy

The Center for Civil and Human Rights museum in Atlanta shows people what it was like to be one of the black protesters in 1960 who staged sit-ins, demanding to be served food alongside white people.  People can choose to experience the trauma the real pioneers faced.

They can sit at a dummy lunch counter, face forward, and put on the headphones.  Then, they experience the taunts & threatenings behind them which the real protesters endured.

3. Connection

In Japan, 3D Sound is used to specifically develop empathy.  Taisuke Murakami runs workshops where each participant only hears what one other person’s ears are hearing.  When two people approach each other, they can physically feel the sounds the other is hearing – developing a bond and a consideration of others.

Stanford University has revealed the results of their studies on how difficult stories develop empathy with people.  Being exposed to different and more complex stories develop the empathetic mind by creating new connections in the brain, allowing it to more-easily connect with a wider range of people.

And, frankly, at this time in our country, couldn’t we use more people who are working to connect, love, and consider one another?  These are the types of qualities we so value in our greatest friends.

Binaural Storytelling allows us to connect to each other in a very human way.

How wonderful it is that we have a tool so beautiful to help us get our eyes off of ourselves, and onto new, frightening, and wonderful horizons!  Who will we become?  Who will we find ourselves fighting for and listening to?

From One Ear To Another,
Joe Guarini
Hooke Audio Team Member

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