Noise. Silence. Noise. Silence.
Music to your ears? Or nails on a chalkboard?
Sound is a tremendous gift in this life. Of course. Hearing is one of our five senses, so we had better love the likes of sound.
Yet… sound can go either way. It can be as smooth as melted butter, or as piercing as a daggone dagger. But. It depends on the sound, AND it depends on the listener.
Apparently, quite a few of us are paying attention to this phenomenon of the noise. I just read an article on NPR’s website today about sound. The title was… “What’s More Distracting Than A Noisy Co-Worker? Turns Out, Not Much”
I laughed out loud. The gist of the article, was this. “Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face “many” instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.”
We all make obnoxious noises. We are walking noise makers, really. But, in general… .if it is coming from another person, it has the potential of REALLY disturbing us. More so than if a noise is coming from a machine.
The reason…. the researchers have announced… is that we humans are social beings (LOL… well.. SOME of us are social beings). At any rate, we are way more “attuned” when it comes to man-made sounds.
For me… well….. I am really affected. I mean it. It seems I am not the only one. Do you ever feel like busting at the seams when you hear the sound of someone’s obnoxious gum-chewing or lip-smacking? Or perhaps, when they are snot-nosing it? Or whatever?
Apparently, it is a bit of a disorder…. called Misophonia. This is a term coined by researchers. It means “hatred of sound,” but it generally refers to a hatred of specifically human sounds.
And as I mentioned, these are often related to eating (like lip smacking or chewing) or related to repetitive sounds like breathing or pen-clicking. Research has proven that people with this “affiliction of Misophonia” experience more than slight irritation. These sounds don’t just annoy, they cause extreme distress and anger.
I think I have this… honest to goodness. When I hear someone chewing loudly… I feel like I am being shot right through the floor… strapped on a booster rocket straight to hell.
Conversely, I can’t get enough of the sweetest sounds in life. The beauty of a great laugh… …or a baby cooing. The voice of someone you love. Music. Glorious music. An owl in the deep dark of night. A good drum beat. The sound of the sun coming up. A dog speaking in her sweet dog-talk-voice. The crash when you throw the perfect strike at the bowling alley. A crowd spontaneously cheering wildly. The sound when someone places their hand on your shoulder, and let’s you know how much you matter. To them. To the world.
Yes. Sound can be sweet, or very bitter. Other times, it even smells….. but we won’t go there tonight.
As with any of it, we might be best off… to appreciate the beautiful sounds, and the gift which they truly are.
Especially, when that sound is being made by someone we love… and in turn… it seems….. they love us back. And when they tell us so? We should listen.
“In every sound, the hidden silence sleeps.”
― Dejan Stojanovic,