Four Aspects to Auditory Spatial Awareness
1 - Social
Social spatial awareness influences our social behavior with an emphasis on privacy or social interaction. In the social aspect of auditory spatial awareness, we determine how we will act with others in an environment. If we are in a private space, such as a private garden, our body language and how we present ourselves will be at ease. There is no need to keep control of the appearance of oneself in this situation. In a public environment such as a community park, our bodies will perform in a different manner based on our own reactions to others around us. If we are in a business meeting, there is yet another different demeanor based on social norms of how to act to appear professional. When supporting an environment with sound design, you will be adding in the surrounding aural environment, and these environments in turn inform those in the space to their settings more fully.
2 - Navigational
Navigational spatial awareness allows us to navigate and orient our way through space, by either supplementing vision or at times replacing it. In the navigational aspect of auditory spatial awareness, we can determine where we are in space through our focus. Some animals, such as bats and dolphins, determine how far away they are from an object by measuring how long it takes for an echo of the sound they emanate to return. This is called echolocation. Blind people are now learning how to do the same. We determine the three dimensions of space and actually hear cubic dimension by how sound reacts around us. We can recreate that reality of cubic space in the sound for a more realistic experience, to inform beyond where the visual elements end.
3 - Aesthetic
Aesthetic spatial awareness affects our aesthetic response to the space. As visual elements embellish a space for our eyes, aural elements embellish a space for our ears. In the aesthetic aspect of auditory spatial awareness, we appreciate the quality of the way sound behaves in space. This type of space helps clarify specificity of sound. It is a space that does not feel noisy. A symphony hall with its near-perfect acoustic response is a glorious place to hear sound. And we can choose to be aesthetic with our sound determined by our desired effect.
4 - Musical
Musical spatial awareness strengthens our experience of music and vocal experiences by merging the source of the sound with the space to create a unified extension of the art performed. In the musical aspect of auditory spatial awareness, we note how constructed sound such as music and voice react within a space. This, coupled with the aesthetic aspect, will define how human beings will respond to the sound. Changing the perception of the space can be quite powerful for those who have to interact within it.