Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Sound of Silence

I am very excited to someday, for some brief amount of time, live in a place where it is actually quiet. Not all the time--just SOME of the time. Simply put, no "filler" noises (ambient TV/music, talking about nothing) only there because the other people are uncomfortable with quietness. Also--the inspiration for this post--no neighbors blasting metal and screamo loud enough to hear it in my kitchen, OVER the dishwasher.

It takes a LOT of mental energy for me to process audio signals. It is difficult to listen to music or TV or other potentially engaging sounds at the same time as doing something else requiring focus--like, thinking. Sometimes I can, but it's not common practice for me. Background audio signals that I need to track is fine (children I'm babysitting, for example). But trying to filter other audio is hard, and very distracting. Once I do actually get the mental filter up (not an easy task), trying to get my attention becomes difficult--so I don't put it up often. Mostly, this leads to background noise driving me crazy--because my brain is processing all sound as equally important, and therefore gets overloaded and distracted. Especially when sleep deprived.

People tend to be surprised by this problem, as I am so flipping loud ALL THE TIME, especially when I talk. And I sing loud. And drum loud. And many other things...loud. But it makes sense, with the hearing loss I have had since I was a small(ish) child. If there's noise and you try to talk to me--without visually get my attention first, or calling out and get eye contact--chances are I'm not ignoring you. I'm just not registering--or not hearing you in the first place.  Sometimes this leads to me seeming very rude. 

Don't get me wrong, I love listening to music. I guess I just need moments when I control my own audio surroundings. My roommates and neighbors last summer were AWESOME about that. And I miss them. 


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