This post is in response to the WordPress daily one-word prompt: Sound
I always find it interesting how people differ in their sound preferences—from music preferences, to sounds in nature, to “how much” sound is too much, etc.
My husband and I have a sound spa in our bedroom that sits on my nightstand.
It has six different nature sounds to choose from: ocean, waterfall, summer nights (crickets), rain forest (birds), thunder, and rain. The sounds are very realistic. We used to have a thunderstorm CD prior to getting this sound spa and it was so fake and “tinny” sounding that I couldn’t stand to play it. My husband’s favorite sound option by far is the thunder, which is my least favorite. He finds it soothing and peaceful. I’ve always found thunderstorms a little scary and so it brings anything but peace to me. I find the sound of the thunderstorm works its way into my dreams and I find myself in scary storm dreams, always trying to escape tornadoes, etc. My favorite sound is the summer night chirping crickets, which is, as you guessed, my husband’s least favorite “pick” on the sound machine. So we usually compromise and go with the ocean waves, the rain, or the waterfall. It’s funny, but when we go on trips and stay in hotels, neither of us sleeps well without our sound spa (and our ceiling fan). I don’t know why we never think to toss the sound machine in the suitcase and take it with us.
I also can sleep easily with a radio on. My husband can’t and says it keeps him awake. My youngest son is like me in that regard, in that while home, he always sleeps with a radio or some kind of music on.
My mother had tinnitus for many years that never went away. Tinnitus is the perception of noise in the ears. It is often described as a ringing but can also sound like roaring, hissing, buzzing or crackling. My mother’s was a loud roaring. She had to have white noise or some kind of noise on when she slept. Otherwise, she heard the constant roar in her ears which kept her awake. My husband also has tinnitus (his is a ringing) and he says the sound spa and white noise helps to drown that out. My mother’s TV stayed on 24 hours a day and she slept in a recliner chair in her den with that TV blaring. I’ve heard her brother (my uncle) say he doesn’t like white noise. He and his wife live in the peaceful, quiet Idahoan (is that a word?) wilderness which is like heaven to them.
I remember when my youngest son was in kindergarten, he went through a period where he would seem to get sensory overload when his very rambunctious classmates would get too loud. The teacher would find him sitting at his desk with his face down and usually tears pouring from his eyes. She would have to put a chair out in the hallway and let him sit out in the quiet for a while. After just a few minutes, he would be okay and come back to the classroom. I learned he was going through this when I was helping out with the classroom Christmas party. Let me tell you, a room full of twenty-four rambunctious five-year olds who are high on sugar and the excitement of Santa and Christmas can get pretty loud!! We were working on a craft with the class, when I saw my son sitting there with tears streaming down his face and his hands over his ears. He had been fine minutes before and I didn’t have a clue what had happened. When the teacher saw him, she quieted the class down a little and told my son to take his chair and sit in the hall for some quiet time (I joined him). She then pulled me aside and told me this had happened a time or two with him before. This is my son who had severe speech language delays and who didn’t talk until he was four. He had been diagnosed with verbal apraxia. I was concerned when the teacher told me he had done this before. It concerned me enough to have a talk with our pediatrician about it who assured me that he would grow out of it. She was right and he did. I later was told by one of my son’s speech therapists that sensory overload in the form of noise is not all that uncommon in children who are late talkers.
When I went off to veterinary school, I lived in some graduate/married student housing apartments. There was a train track that ran right beside the apartment complex. The first week of living there, I was awakened every time that train went by. And when the train’s loud whistle blew, I about came out of my skin. I thought for sure I would never get used to that blaring train and would have to move. But it didn’t take long for me to grow to love the sound of that train and even its whistle. In no time at all, I got so used to it that I didn’t even notice or hear it. I didn’t even realize that had happened until a good friend of mine came to visit for the weekend. The next morning after we awoke, she said, “GAIL, HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU EVER SLEEP WITH THAT TRAIN?!!!!” I laughed and told her that while I struggled with it at first, that I didn’t even hear it anymore and I truly didn’t. When I graduated from vet school and moved away, I sorta missed that ole train. I can still hear it.
I’ll end this rambling post on sound by saying that I think my favorite sound by far is the sound of a happy cat purring. I’ve often told my husband that I wish purring was an option on our sound spa. It’s a peaceful and well… a happy sound.
Leave in a comment: Do you like to sleep with sound or total quiet? What sounds do you like?