Brain tingles: ASMR

by | Jul 22, 2020 | Hearing Gains

By now you probably know that we are absolutely obsessed with sound and are on a journey to explore every single topic to do with it. So, if you’re anything like us, stay tuned!

This week we’ve immersed ourselves in ASMR – the unique internet sensation that has taken the world by storm in the last couple of years.

What is ASMR?

Autonomous sensory meridian response, or else known as ASMR is a relaxing feeling which many describe as a pleasant tingling or ‘brain orgasm’. It’s similar to the feeling of goosebumps when you listen to your favorite song or when you feel the wind gently blowing on your neck – and it’s often triggered by sound.

We’re sure you know what we’re talking about, and we bet you’ll agree it’s a pretty great sensation. But did you know that recently it’s become an internet craze? That’s right, there are all sorts of videos popping up on YouTube designed to stimulate this response, from sounds of people whispering to eating, tapping their nails and even more niche options. If the phrase ‘mind orgasm’ hasn’t made you want to at least give it a try, we don’t know what will!

What are the benefits of ASMR?

There are a number of reported benefits for ASMR. It’s said to relieve anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation and even overcome depression. Isn’t that interesting? The most common benefit is help with anxiety, especially social anxiety. Some people even use it as an alternative therapeutic technique.

However, it’s worth noting that ASMR is a very personal experience and as such will have  different benefits for different people.

Different types of ASMR

There are so many types of ASMR but we’d never be able to list them all. And of course, what works for one person won’t work for everyone! So, why not go down a YouTube rabbit hole to find out what works for you? Until then, here are a few common types.

  • Listening to a softly spoken or whispering voice.
  • Listening to quiet, repetitive sounds resulting from someone engaging in a mundane task such as turning the pages of a book.
  • Watching somebody attentively execute a mundane task such as preparing food.
  • Loudly chewing, crunching, slurping or biting foods, drinks, or gum.
  • Listening to tapping, typically nails onto surfaces such as plastic, wood, metal, etc.
  • Hand movements, especially onto one’s face.
  • Listening to certain types of music.
  • Listening to a person blow or exhale into a microphone.

Why not check it out?

Wondering where to get started? We’ve dug out a few of the most-viewed videos of different types of ASMR on YouTube. Take a look!

But why do some people enjoy it so much?

Nick Davis, a researcher of ASMR, claims that it has both physiological and psychological responses. Watching ASMR videos may activate your brain in a similar way as being with someone you care about while they play with your hair in a gentle way.

It’s likely that the brain chemical, Oxycontin, is strongly involved in ASMR because it’s known to cause relaxation during bonding and grooming behaviors. Basically, you associate people eating certain foods or brushing hair with some sort of psychological state of comfort and calmness. As for physiological response – your heart rate slows and your skin electrical response changes. Pretty cool, right?!


Interestingly, not everyone enjoys this unique experience. Research conducted by a few ASMR scientists said that 43% of people watching the videos experience unpleasant or annoying feelings of misophonia, a disorder in which certain sounds cause emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as irritating and very unpleasant.

Check out the videos we posted above to find out if you experience pleasant or cringe-worthy sensations and let us know!

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