Qualities of ASMR: An Overview

Good news, everyone!
(I confess: I’ve always wanted to start an article with that line …)

An old guy pointing.

So — good news, everyone!

Today I’ll be playing the part of the professor by outlining several of the prominent triggers within the ASMR community. To that end, I’ll wrap up by discussing how these sounds might affect someone with ASMR.

Quick recap: What on earth is ASMR, and what is a TRIGGER?

Great question. In layman’s terms, ASMR is a calming sensation that occurs in the head when hearing specific calming tones, sounds, voices, or white noise. The sounds that illicit these sensations are known as TRIGGERS. People that experience ASMR often describe it as a “tingling” feeling.

Moving on: What are some of the most prominent triggers?

Although triggers vary from person to person, several seem to have popped up as being ‘especially’ common. In an excellent article by ASMRLab, they’ve outlined the following as some of the most common triggers.

Whispering: The soft, unvoiced communication of an individual on any topic.
Scratching: The sound of scratching one’s fingers to a surface.
Tapping: The sound of tapping one’s fingernails upon a surface or object.
Page Turning: The sound of turning pages while reading.
Touching the Head: The sounds associated with touching one’s scalp or head.

So, what response do these sounds illicit for someone with ASMR?

For someone with ASMR, hearing any or all of these sounds could create a calming sensation in the head. Some people have described it as a light “tingling” or “buzzing” within the head, but rather than describe it, it’s more important to remember that the experience is pleasurable.

In instances where these sounds regularly produce these responses, people may be inclined to listen to them repeatedly for relaxation or meditation purposes. For some people, the sensation is so overwhelming that other noises and sounds literally tune out while these cues are present.

In an effort to produce an analogy, one might think of ASMR as a form of audio-meditation — somewhere between a massage and a deep session of personal introspection. It’s a tool that, when explored fully, allows the participant to feel relaxed and calm wherever they may be.

(Image Source: Operation Reality, screen capped from Futurama)

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