Is ASMR whispering bad for your throat or vocal cords?

The ASMR artist, Deni ASMRCZ, recently asked me if whispering is bad for the throat or vocal cords.

A 2006 research article stated, “For years, otolaryngologists and voice therapists have warned voice patients that whispering causes more trauma to the larynx than normal speech. However, no large series of patients has ever been examined fiberoptically during whispering to test this hypothesis.

In 2011, The New York Times asked Dr. Robert T. Sataloff, chairman of the otolaryngology department at Drexel University College of Medicine why clinicians recommend that patients avoid whispering.  He said this recommendation was based on “years of pronouncement and almost no research, like so much in medicine.”

Even when searching for more recent research publications, there doesn’t seem to be any research studies which clearly answer this question yet, but there are personal experiences, clinical opinions, and physiological studies.

I’ll cover all three of these types of sources.

Let’s begin in 2009 with the first ASMR artist, WhisperingLife.  She mentioned in some of her videos that whispering sometimes hurt her voice.  This may have been one of the reasons her videos were relatively short and averaged about 10 minutes long.

Jump forward to 2019.  I’ve created over 200 podcast episodes for the Sleep Whispers podcast of pure whispering, with an average length of 40 minutes each and a max length of 90 minutes.  I’ve never felt any discomfort in my throat or voice, but I do often feel like I am running out of breath.

So these two simple and personal examples highlight that whispering may create different types of discomfort for different individuals.

Let’s see what further evidence I can uncover for the effect of whispering on the throat and vocals.

Continue reading

Published research study about mindfulness and ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityBeverley Fredborg, James Clark, and Stephen Smith have published another ASMR research study titled, “Mindfulness and ASMR.”  The study was published August 7, 2018 in PeerJ.

The goal of this study was to investigate the potential relationships between ASMR and mindfulness.

In their introduction, they provide these descriptions of mindfulness:

  • “…a two-component process by which one engages in both intentional self-regulation of attention and a nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of the present moment.”
  • “…involves an openness to sensations, attentional control, emotional regulation, and resilience.”

The authors then highlight the similarities between mindfulness and ASMR:

  • “…the focused attention method of mindfulness meditation requires individuals to focus on a specific external stimulus or internal thought…During ASMR experiences, individuals focus attention on an external stimulus that triggers tingling sensations.”
  • “Both mindfulness and ASMR can lead to a feeling of relaxation that enhances people’s subjective well-being.”

These similarities definitely make one wonder if mindfulness is a form of ASMR, if ASMR is a form of mindfulness, or is there some other relationship?

The authors also teased out more data about ASMR and trigger preferences, age of onset, similarity to music chills, and frequency of using ASMR media to help with relaxation and sleeping.

Continue reading

Voices of ASMR: What triggers ASMR in the real world? (podcast episode #15)

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityIn this podcast episode, you will hear participants in the Voices of ASMR project explain the following about their ASMR experiences:

  • What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest?
  • Do your immediate surroundings make a difference?
  • Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording?

Subscribe to the ASMR University Podcast to hear all of the past and future episodes or listen to this one episode right here:

Continue reading

Graduate student completes research study about the body map of ASMR sensations

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityJack Stevenson-Smith completed his Masters degree 2 years ago in the School of Psychology at the The University of Liverpool, UK.

He focused his Master’s research dissertation on ASMR and it was titled, “Bodily maps of novel somatosensation: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)”

In my interview with Jack he shares the inspiration for his research, his aims, hypotheses, and methods, the challenges he encountered, some great tips for other ASMR researchers, and his special moment with Dmitri, the ASMR artist known as massageASMR.

Below are my questions in bold and his replies in italics.

Continue reading

Published research study demonstrates physiological benefits of ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityA peer-reviewed research study is the first to report physiological changes while individuals experience ASMR.

The publication is titled, “More than a feeling: ASMR is characterized by reliable changes in affect and physiology” and is authored by Giulia Lara Poerio, Emma Blakey, and Theresa Veltri from the University of Sheffield (UK) and Thomas Hostler from the Manchester Metropolitan University (UK).  The research was published June 20, 2018 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The publication reported the results of two studies.  The first study involved about 1000 participants watching videos and reporting how they felt.  The second study involved about 100 participants watching videos, reporting how they felt, and having some physiological responses measured.

I will first summarize the methods and results of the first study, then summarize the methods and results of the second study.

Continue reading

Research publication reports association between ASMR and misophonia

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityRomke Rouw of the University of Amsterdam and Mercede Erfanian of Maastricht University, both located in The Netherlands, have published a research paper on misophonia.

The paper is titled, “A large-scale study of misophonia” and was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology as an epub in May 2017 and then as a journal article in March 2018.

The research study focuses mostly on misophonia but it does contain some data about ASMR.

Continue reading

Voices of ASMR: Is ASMR a sexual feeling? (podcast episode #14)

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityIn this podcast episode, you will hear participants in the Voices of ASMR project explain the following about their ASMR experiences:

  • Does your ASMR feel the same as a sexual response?
  • How is your ASMR similar to a sexual response?
  • How is your ASMR different from a sexual response?

Subscribe to the ASMR University Podcast to hear all of the past and future episodes or listen to this one episode right here:

Continue reading

Peer-reviewed research publications about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityHow many peer-reviewed research publications about ASMR currently exist?  The answer is three.

I’ve created this post as a quick resource for anyone looking to learn more about these publications.

Below are the details for each publication, along with links to each publication, summaries of the data, interviews with the authors, and podcast episodes about each publication.

Continue reading

Interview with Bev Fredborg, author of the recent research publication about ASMR and personality traits.

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityResearchers at the University of Winnipeg in Canada have recently published their second peer-reviewed research publication about ASMR.

The paper is titled, “An Examination of Personality Traits Associated with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)” and was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on February 23, 2017.

The publication was authored by Beverley Fredborg, an adjunct lab member in the Embodied Emotion Laboratory, Dr. Jim Clark, the Chair of the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Stephen Smith, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.

I recently wrote a short article which summarized some of the findings of this new publication.

This article now brings you an explanation of their study in the words of the lead author, Beverley “Bev” Fredborg, who is also currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

Continue reading