This week I’ve been building my posts around the five senses. Today, I consider the sense of hearing.
Loud noises bother me. A lot.
Noisy restaurants, crowded parties—I can stand only so much, and then I have to get out. And the silence that comes once I escape seems heavenly to me.
Loud noises make me anxious, and anxiety makes my OCD more difficult to deal with and can even make me feel depressed.
I’m reading the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine N. Aron, and I suspect that I am a highly sensitive person—prone to not liking loud noises, lots of chaos, bright lights and other stimuli that most people handle just fine.
I found this passage interesting:
“One general rule is that when we have no control over stimulation, it is more upsetting, even more so if we feel we are someone’s victim. While music played by ourselves may be pleasant, heard from the neighbor’s stereo, it can be annoying, and if we have previously asked them to turn it down, it becomes a hostile invasion” (p. 22 of e-edition).
When I’m in the car by myself, I turn up my music, and usually sing along. But I remember the days when I lived in apartments and it drove me crazy to have to listen to neighbors’ music, especially pulsating, booming music that shook the walls.
After a while of listening to loud music in the car, I do like some silence, and I’ll turn it down or turn if off completely. And chronic noise bothers me.
But noisy restaurants and crowded parties probably bother me in part because I can’t control the volume.
Sometimes my husband has the television turned up louder than I’d like it. In the room across from our bedroom, where he sometimes watches TV, the television is old. You have to turn it up to hear the dialogue in a show, but then the commercials blare out.
It used to really bother me, especially if I was trying to go to sleep. But since I’ve been working on being more mindful, I’ve tried to actually tune in to the TV’s sounds and sense them as part of many sounds around me.
That said, I still prefer quiet. The quiet helps to soothe my anxiety.
When I want sounds to be soothing, music will sometimes do the trick, usually instrumental music with no words. But some artists, like Alison Krauss, can soothe me even with words.
Here are some other sounds that soothe me:
*The sound of my husband when he loses himself in laughter.
*His soft breathing as he sleeps.
*The purrs of my cats.
*The soft pad of the cats’ paws on the floor.
*The birdsongs in the early morning.
*The slight whirl of the ceiling fan over the bed.
*The wind high in the oak trees.
*Gentle wind chimes.
What sounds drive you crazy? What sounds soothe you?