We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 28 - Listening Through The Noise - Sound, Frequencies and Tinnitus with Kris Berle

A spotlight on Kris Berle

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A spotlight on Kris Berle

31 May, 2023
We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 28 - Listening Through The Noise - Sound, Frequencies and Tinnitus with Kris Berle
Multidisciplinary artist, humanitarian and researcher Kris Berle recently sat down with We Walk The Earth to share her passionate, yet complex relationship with sound. Describing herself as an audio-visual, very sensitive person, sound has always played a major role in Kris’ life, sometimes seeing through vision but other times through sound itself.
At the age of 20, Kris started DJing, an activity she often associates with her mother who not only played the transverse flute and piano, but also had a deep passion for techno — something which stemmed from her kickboxing and spin instructing. Growing up around a diverse mix of sounds and the energy, the transition into the DJ scene therefore seemed as logical as seamless for Kris.

Around the same time, Kris also began recording sound for films. Her first project focused on the history of mammoths in Siberia, and ignited a passion for recording sounds that has stuck with her since.

Sound hasn’t always brought pleasure to Kris’ life however, and has been the source of some of her deepest mental struggles. Following a fall from a waterfall in Brazil a few years ago, Kris recounts how she instantly knew something was wrong as she lost all sense of balance and equilibrium. Doctors confirmed that the problem was likely tinnitus caused by flooding in her ears, resulting in her living with a continuous high pitched frequency in her right ear which soon spread to her left.

Initially, the pain came in waves but was manageable, allowing Kris to continue DJing, working on the radio and recording sounds. Unfortunately, the stress began to increase and became so piercing they felt like surround sound inside her head. No longer able to sleep or bring herself to make music, Kris knew something had to change, and so she began to research how she could treat her tinnitus and understand its underlying condition.

Some years on, Kris has remarkably been able to learn to live through the continuous noise, embracing her situation and using it to influence her own passion for sound. Her latest work — entitled “Acúfenos” which is the latin term for “Tinnitus” — combines audio and visual art to allow people to experience what it’s like to live with the condition. Through Acúfenos, Kris hopes to translate the sounds that have lived inside her head as she invites people to heal through connecting with the sonic experience.

“You can close your eyes and rest,” she explained to Sergio Isauro, We Walk The Earth host, “but you can never close your ears.”

To find out more about Kris’ experience with tinnitus and her latest project, you can listen to Episode 28 of We Walk The Earth “Listening Through The Noise - Sound, Frequencies and Tinnitus with Kris Berle”. Available now, wherever you get your podcasts.

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