By Caitline Ann Blinder, Northern State University
“Attuning to Phonophobia” was at first a final project in my sound studies class, but then it became something more. From the encouragement of my professor Dr. Ben Harley, along with my interests in learning about rhetorical sound studies, disability studies, and from my own personal reflections, “Attuning to Phonophobia” emerged. This multimodal project is a sonic essay and narrative that weaves scholarship, sound, and my own experiences together so that scholars, teachers, students, and others to gain more empathy for those with sound sensitivities. This project comes from my experiences in middle school since this was the most impactful, and memorable time for me.
For this project, I wanted to make sure I really weaved the scholarship with my own experiences to not only add to the conversation in the field, but also so that listeners can really feel what others like myself experience.
I was purposeful in the whole piece. My stutters are real reactions, the intensities and the movement of sounds are how I experience them. Sound can be invasive, but it can also be enrichening. I hope this piece will aid others a better understanding of sonic rhetorics, disability studies, and how sound can affect others. Empathy begins here, and we can make our classrooms and environments better when we consider that.
I want to thank all the scholars and sounds who helped me create this project. I especially want to thank my professor and rhetoric scholar, Ben. His encouragement and guidance moved me to continue creating this piece throughout the entire process. This is one of my greatest accomplishments so far, and I could not have done it without him and all the scholars and sounds guiding me the way.