Are you tired of the noise?

Not just the noise that surrounds us at work or out in the world… the machines, the sounds of construction… the airplanes, the sirens, the cars and the trucks… the clangs and the crashes and the horns…

Not just the noise that surrounds us in our homes… the hum of appliances and the clicks, the beeps and the whirs as they go through their cycles… the constant “noise” of video games and television and radio.

And don’t forget the music. There is always the music.

Not the music we choose to listen to… but the music that is force fed to us in stores as we shop, the music we have to listen to on the telephone as we wait on hold, and the music that is played non-stop in almost every public place. There is no getting away from that music.

I wonder when it became the norm that every second has to be filled with some form of sound. What happened to quiet time… time to relax, to think, to pray, to reflect and to “be”?

Have we forgotten there is value in stillness… and silence?


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GoneCountry

I thought of this very thing just the other day as I heard the constant hum of motorcycles traveling to and from the Laughlin River Run. It went on for days. Constant and even in to the night. I missed the quiet.

Since ridding ourselves of any form of satellite or cable TV service our TV is usually in the off position which I have come to love. I rarely play music (although I do enjoy it) but I have come to love sitting in peace and quiet while reading, crocheting or sewing and listening to the birds outside hitting the feeder while singing or chatting to each other.

I have gotten to the point where I can’t stand the noises of modern day society. I thought, ‘Am I getting old? or am I just learning to appreciate the quiet?’

Anyhoo, yes I am tired of the noise!

StrivingSimply

Yes, and at the exact same time, no! I’ve always kept the radio on NPR when I’m at home alone. Now I have a 10 month old daughter, but I still left it on. I was told to turn off the radio and TV to help develop her language skills, and it’s so difficult! I managed without it for about a day and a half when I found myself turning it back on because the lack of noise is so uncomfortable.

Long story short, I’d love to be more comfortable with silence, but noise is so ingrained in my life that I find it very difficult to do.

Quinn

This is a major quality-of-life issue for me! I am very sensitized to sound (used to unplug the clock and refrigerator when studying for exams even 20 years ago) and ironically, even more so because I have hearing loss in one ear…my brain is constantly trying to hear what’s going on around me, instead of “tuning things out” as most people seem to do.
I live in a rural area, on a road that saw little traffic for the first 15 years I lived here. Since then, it has changed dramatically. Visitors often comment on how “quiet” it is here, but no, it is not. I hope to relocate.
Quiet is essential to health, I think. At least, to my health.

Bethany

I always long for silence and have moved out to the country to get a little more of it! There are still tractors and combines a few distant dogs barking, but I don’t mind it nearly so much as the city noises!

In contrast, we lived overseas for a few years in a country where the culture insisted that the louder the activity the more fun. So every store in the mall was trying to blast the others out of the water. And when your neighbors had a party, it had to be cranked. Frequently, we would go out to dinner and not be able to hear the conversation at our own table because the music was too loud to even hear yourself think. It was not my definition of fun! Talk about culture shock! It is so good to be home. It is still noisy, but nothing in comparison.

J.D

I always pray for silence and my surroundings. Gosh much needed peace and quiet. Conversations and people yelling, loud tv’s to the maximum. People turning it up louder and louder. Hopefully in another century we can also not have worry about headphones and just listen to ourselves through silence. Hope it is soon!

Jan T

The greatest thing about a power outage is the quiet.

Shoshana

Something I have always found interesting about the 18th Century… I live near Niagara Falls. In the 18th century, you could hear the falls from Fort Niagara which is about 20 miles from the fort. The earth was that quiet then. I have been to the fort many times and I can almost feel the falls, I wish I could hear them.

Nick

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. The absolute cacophony of sound that surrounds us everywhere we go.

Our fridge and freezer stay in a room away from the rest of the house, I can’t stand to listen to them. We don’t own a TV, my wife listens to the radio occasionally but usually the only time we have anything “playing” it is a preaching tape in our little tape player.

I can’t hardly stand to go to most stores anymore. Which makes the fact that I currently work at a national chain retail drugstore very difficult.

The manager at the store I work at plays the music so loud that I literally often cannot understand what the customers right in front of me are saying!

I asked him one day if we could turn the music down. His answer was, “When the volume is a little too loud, people buy more cards.” All I could do was stand there open-mouthed.

Caroline

I have noticed in my own home that when we turn off the tv, radio and other distraction everyone seems to mellow out.

Rose

This really hit home for me. I absolutely crave peace and quiet. I worked for 9 years at a nuke plant. everything beep, buzzed, honked or made some other awful noise. I wore earplugs most of the time, but I really think the noise did something to my nervous system. I even have a hard time listening to music, which I have always loved, for very long at a time now. When the heat or air come on in the house it bothers me. When I am outside in my yard far away from artificial sound I am content. Otherwise I feel bothered and irritated in a way I cannot explain.

Wendy

sometimes I get to see a similar effect when nationals from developing countries come to visit our offices in the U.S. They don’t comment on the noise so much as the fact that there are so many choices of things to buy, eat (although it makes them sick), and how everyone takes cars even very short distances.

Dave B

I had a profound experience in Canyonlands National Park. I was camping and the silence was so perfect and absolute, that I still remember that, more so, than the beautiful vistas.

goldfish

I find people talking into their cell phones everywhere I go disconcerting. I don’t know why this bothers me so much.

FGT

Noise did not used to bother me in my younger years, in fact i would search it out, radio on way too loud, Tv blaring in the background. Now i prefer peace and quiet, so much so that some mornings i want to yell out to the birds chirping happily, “Hey! quiet down out there for awhile” of course, they would never listen…

Anne B

People who come inside our house usually comment on how quiet it is, probably because we don’t leave the TV or radio on for “background noise.” The lady who feeds our cats when we’re away always leaves our kitchen radio on during the day so the cats will hear the voices and be less lonely; little does she know how little noise they hear when we’re home! I’m sure she’d turn on the TV for them if we had one.

N R

I would love to move to a quieter place – can totally relate to the posts here on the need for quiet. Hope to be able to downsize and move soon!

Arthur3030

I sometimes half-joke that the loudspeaker was the worst invention of the 20th century (actually 1890s, maybe). I have a perfectly good mind, and it becomes more and more difficult to use it as I get pounded by loud music everywhere I go. Awful.
One small recent improvement is the popularity of smart phones over boom boxes. I’m still surrounded by driving beats all day, but even the loudest on-speaker phone is quieter than boom boxes.

Linda

Though I am not a loner, I am very comfortable with silence and actually NEED times of solitude and quiet to restore and refresh my soul. Several times a year I go off alone on retreat to spend time alone with God and enjoy the beauty of nature. I am grateful for this gift since I believe most people are uncomfortable with silence.

Desert Island Bookworm

I worked for years at independent bookstore by the beach in a building built in early 1900’s, with cash till rather than noisy cash register–definitely no computers.

Elderly owners allowed us to leave phone off the hook if it rang too much! Employees also had choice of whether to play music–and how loudly–from selection of tapes for sale, mostly classical or New Age instrumentals. Great calm, relaxing atmosphere for customers browsing.

Large windows let in natural light, i.e. no fluorescent light fixtures buzzing and flickering. Did you know that some people on Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome spectrum are so sensitive to fluorescent lighting that it can seem to flash as much as a strobe light disco ball to someone else that is more “Neurotypical”?

BTW, novel “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” which has autistic protagonist, alerted me to how sensory overload is factor in triggering an autistic person’s shutting down from outside world and meltdown reactions.

When I worked for a chain bookstore (which is no longer in business), in order to take a breather and “decompress” from store noises, I’d take my breaks outdoors in place without people (i.e. no music, talking, or intrusive loud sounds such as ringing phones, cash registers, piped in rock music–tho I could dial down level of loudness).

Now I realize it was relatively quiet, compared to another chain store (only new bookstore in area where I now live). Loud music and frequent announcements over loud speaker make it impossible for me to take in what I’m trying to read when browsing thru books, to help me decide if it interests me enough to want to read whole book.

Maybe they want people to come in, grab book off best seller display and go out as quickly as possible (another customer-unfriendly touch is lack of seating except in cafe–which is sooo noisy I don’t see how any one can enjoy relaxing with a beverage–unless they are deaf?

That store has lost me as a customer to public libraries–tho those aren’t as quiet as they used to be. I dream of one dating from early 1900’s, quiet and subtly lit, with card file before computers, and windows opening onto shushing ocean waves below. It’s since been repurposed into something else….

Alice

At the tiny public library in the tiny town where I live, I was shocked at the high noise level. The employees and the patrons speak so loud! No whispering or shushing in this place, no sir. The children were not asked to quiet down even when shouting. When I inquired why it was so noisy, the librarian told me that shushing folks discouraged them from visiting the library!

Athais

I remember when movies didn’t have background music. Now, all movies have background music to set the mood and such. Not too long ago I watched an old movie, can’t remember the title, and the silence hit me about halfway through. I kept asking myself, “What is different about this movie?” Then it hit me – there was no background music. It was nice being able to hear the people speak without all the clutter, but the best part of all is that the movie was really good at setting the mood without all the background music. They don’t make them that way anymore, so they need to clutter the movie with music to set the mood. I notice I am watching more oldies these days.

Katie

I was just sitting here on my computer, with no background noise. How nice to have silence,now and then.I too, crave quiet times, as well as beautiful music. We leave our bedroom window open to hear the sounds of the birds in the morning. It is much better than a radio booming . Each has a place and balance in my life . I would never want to have to be without either.Oh, the many blessings we have to choose from !

Marlies

I too crave the quiet!! My husband works in the city about 4 hours from our home– he stays there during the week in a RV park near a major road. When I go with him, the noise at night actually keeps me from getting a good nights’ sleep. The trains running every 2 hours, the RV park being on the flight path for Dulles and even the sound of the vehicles bothers me to the point that I do not enjoy going over there. We live in the hills of WV and I do not miss the city.

Seth

I couldn’t agree more. It’s quite literally incessant. One must travel far from civilized outposts to savor anything approaching silence.
Might pervasive, mechanized sound contribute to the ubiquitous and exacerbating “plugging in and tuning out” phenomenon we’ve witnessed in recent years?

Tina H

The noise of “civilization” has always been a concern of mine. I have always loved quiet surroundings; so much so that people would walk into my office at work and call it a tomb. I preferred to think of it as a library — although libraries aren’t quiet anymore. Your comment about music in stores really hit home too as there was, until recently, ONE store in our state that did not play any form of background noise and it was blissful! Alas, they were recently bought out and now blast music and offers and announcements.

Anne

One of my favorite things to do is snorkeling in the crystal clear caribbean. Visually spectacular, the quietness is just as amazing and beautiful.