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#1 Edited by Sterling (3033 posts) -

I was just thinking. Man, its super quiet in here. Then I noticed my office air purifier was off (I don't even own this for its intended use. Its just to make noise). Between that and my PC there is always a constant audible hum. But I don't notice it. I'm used to it. And apparently I like it. Or I need it, maybe. This also just reminded me of something that happened last week. I have a fan in my bedroom. Its on 24/7. It died last week, and I could not sleep that night. It was too quiet in the room. I only got about 3-4 hours of sleep that night. I kept waking up after only 20-30 minutes of being asleep. And then would lay there for the same amount before falling back asleep again. I didn't have that humming noise to sooth me to sleep. Its been replaced, went out and bought a new one first thing the next day. Sleep like a baby that night. (which is an odd statement, babies typically don't sleep though the night)

Now thinking about all this. I have something in every room of my home that makes a low humming noise of some kind. At all times. 24.7. There is no pure quiet room in my home. And I notice the second something is no longer making that noise. But I don't notice the noise while its being made. I know this is probably pretty common. Or I think it might be due to the day and age we live in. But maybe not?

I guess what I am saying is, complete quiet is unsettling. I feel uncomfortable. I need the noise! You?

#2 Posted by wemibelec90 (2043 posts) -

I have a hard time sleeping/working on my computer without my box fan white noise. I've had a box fan in my room for the last five years, so I'm too accustomed to the sound to have it go missing.

#3 Posted by Yummylee (23187 posts) -

Yeah, I tend to find complete silence to be somewhat uncomfortable, especially when trying to sleep like you mentioned. I always like to have music lightly playing in the background, or have my fan turned on or something to that effect.

#4 Posted by afabs515 (1408 posts) -

Yup. I currently have Netflix streaming House as I write this post. Not even paying attention to it. If I'm playing my 3DS, Law & Order: SVU is sure to be in the background for no reason. Can't do anything without noise except sleep. I wonder if that says something about our society as a whole or if I'm just a disgusting human being.

#5 Edited by Yummylee (23187 posts) -

@afabs515: I think it's simply because through modern-society, many of us are accustomed to being surrounded with so much sound. So when you take all of that away and you're left with silence, it makes sense as to why we may find it to be... uncomfortable, unnatural almost. I'm sure this first became especially common for our generation of individuals in our 20s and 30s in particular.

#6 Posted by Sammo21 (4040 posts) -

No, I don't need it. I find there are times when I want it. I used to think I couldn't sleep at night without music or the radio on (I used to fall asleep listening to Art Bell :D) but I've found that I don't when I forced myself not to. I think that as our modern society gets more "busy" that we are becoming more dependent on noise all the time. Just like when some people tell me they can't do stuff without headphones in their ears.

#7 Posted by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

Actually even with all things quiet and living outside the city ... there is just too much fucking noise , the crikest man those god damned crikets why cant they shut the fuck up? D: !!!!!!!!

So no , I dont mind soundlessness , in fact I hate the sounds of fans , too noisy.

#8 Edited by LiquidPrince (16451 posts) -

I have a dehumidifier that runs 24/7 and has a hum, which I'm listening to now, and I'm totally used to it. I don't NEED it however, as I can sleep perfectly fine even when it's off. I do find it weird for a bit when it's off though, but get used to the silence fairly quickly.

#9 Edited by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -


If you are used to noises, those noises are what you're most comfortable with.

If you are not used to noises, not having those noises is what you're most comfortable with.

#10 Posted by Slaegar (783 posts) -

I don't really need noise, but when I sleep I like to have something that takes some of my concentration away. If it's something I am interested in, I may not fall asleep, if it's something completely boring, I'll ignore it and start thinking about other things. When I thing about other nonsense it fills my head and I have a hard time falling asleep.

As for general background noise I don't care for it too much since I have open headphones and I can even pick up my computer fans through them.

#11 Posted by CatsAkimbo (683 posts) -

I go pretty crazy if I don't have some sort of noise going, but it's more in regards to a podcast or loud music constantly playing rather than just some white noise. I can't even lay in bed anymore without a quicklook running on my phone or some podcast I don't even care that much about.

#12 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (6240 posts) -

I have to have some kind of white noise to sleep. Otherwise the silence drives me insane. It's usually in the form of an air purifier, since I have allergies. During the summer months it's usually a small fan.

#13 Posted by ripelivejam (5629 posts) -

this on repeat

#14 Posted by Sterling (3033 posts) -

@ripelivejam: I like it.

That also reminded me I had this bookmarked. I used to put this on and listen to it when going to sleep on my laptop. I love falling asleep to the sound of rain. I also really love a good rain/thunder storm.

#15 Edited by StarvingGamer (8900 posts) -

Not white noise, no, but I do need to be constantly listening to something so I'm not stuck alone with myself in my head.

#16 Posted by crithon (3512 posts) -

hehe, I keep a window open, the sound of cars whizzing by..... I find relaxing. Just the spin of the tires on the pavement, not exactly like the Tie Fighters of Star Wars, just different roll.

#17 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1434 posts) -

I couldn't sleep without my box fan creating the beautiful, relaxing hum.

#18 Posted by ripelivejam (5629 posts) -

i can't sleep without one of my cats running at full bore over my body, clawing me hideously along the way :')

#19 Edited by ThatOneDudeNick (895 posts) -

I like silence. When I turn my PC and ceiling fan off, I become instantly sleepy. I have trouble clearing my head if there's noise in the background. I'm at my most relaxed when there's no ambient noise.

I used to fall asleep to ASMR videos, but I started having weird ass dreams when I sleep with stuff in the background. I try to keep my space as quiet as possible in my down time. Any other time I don't really care.

I work while listening to instrumentals (hip-hop) because I don't like voices. When I'm gaming or whatever, I prefer to have podcasts on. Relaxation and bed time I want silence. No fans, music, birds, wind, ect.

I do understand the unsettling feeling that comes with silence though. I like quiet, but even when I think my house is silent, there's still a little bit of noise. The most silent places I've ever been (Kelso Dunes and Great Basin) were very eerie because of how quiet it was. Many magnitudes quieter than I can ever get my house, even with all electronics off.

#20 Posted by rand0mZer00 (329 posts) -

Sometimes I need some kind of noise to help me sleep, but more often than not I can just fall asleep (depending on how tired the day made me). I used to need some kind of noise going during tests back in high school. I just couldn't stand like quietness, having some kind of sound going kept me more relaxed than absolute silence. Weird I know, but it helped me.

#21 Edited by Steadying (1604 posts) -

Definitely. When it's too quiet I get to thinking about random stuff and that sometimes leads to me just becoming totally depressed.

It's definitely gotten a little out of hand lately, though. Like, for some reason I cannot play a whole lot of games without some kind of YouTube video going on in the background, so I usually miss most of the dialog. :P

#22 Posted by Hunter5024 (6251 posts) -

I have a fan running 24/7 every day of the year, unless I'm out of town for some reason. On one of the few days of the year where its cold enough that I need it off, I find the silence very uncomfortable. In that scenario I try to put a pillow over my ear to produce natural white noise (and warm my head).

#23 Posted by fetchfox (1429 posts) -

Dead silence can be unsettling for me, yeah. But it's a rare occurrence. There's almost always some sound in the environment, be it outside or inside.

#24 Edited by BoOzak (1027 posts) -

I have pretty bad tinnitus so I prefer some noise to drown that out. But back when I didnt I found complete silence a bit unnerving, but I was a kid. I also found pitch black darkness unnerving. Now I cant sleep without it.

#25 Posted by Dixavd (1465 posts) -

I like the silence in that I find it relaxing. Not unnerving like others have said. But I do quickly think "I should be doing something" even if I'm actually doing something (like working). As if the lack of sound itself implies that I'm not doing anything.

I also find background noise really distracting, even in relatively-quiet places like cafés I find the background noise of other people's conversations really distracting.

Similarly, it's why at a young age I've refused to have constant sound going, especially at night, because I think I'll get used to it and eventuallly need it. Like playing music before I fall asleep, I have this fear that if I were to keep doing it, eventually I wouldn't be able to sleep without music on.

#26 Posted by TheAcidSkull (944 posts) -

I like science and peace.

#27 Posted by CaLe (4183 posts) -

I have tinnitus so I have no idea what silence even is.

#28 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11878 posts) -

I like it quiet, but I don't really get too many opportunities to have complete quiet (outside of sleeping anyway), so I usually have headphones on and music or something playing to block distracting noise when trying to get something done. Little off topic, I guess.

#29 Posted by Lunnington (333 posts) -

White noise is awesome for sleep. I pretty much require it now.

I also have the box fan next to my bed for when I sleep. Sometimes I don't even point it at me, I just let it run.

#30 Posted by falserelic (5721 posts) -

Well yeah I want noise in my life.

-I like to hear women scream when I'm watching porn

-Listen to music or listen to a movie.

-Making sure to hear the customers, supervisors, and co-workers at my job. So I can make money to support myself.

I could go on and on why noise is important in our lives. The only time I don't need noise is when I die. At that point you'll stop existing and overtime decay. No more pain and no more suffering anymore. Whether you've lived a happy life or not won't matter at that point. Can't wait to meet my demise I'm actually excited about it.

#31 Posted by Demoskinos (16116 posts) -

I usually like noise cause ya know tinnitus and all that. Most of the time I can distract myself enough that I'm not paying attention to it but as they say the silence can be deafening. Especially to someone who has tinnitus. Which,despite what all the snake oil salesmen say on TV still doesn't have an actual fix or cure to it now.

I'm actually SO attuned to the noise in my bedroom that if say the power goes out which in turn would shut off my PC since I have it on nearly 24/7 I will wake up out of a deep sleep instantly because I sub-consciously notice a difference. Its really weird because I'm not a light sleeper either I've slept through horrific thunderstorms undisturbed nearly in a coma like state but as soon as the noise changes in my room. Boom. I'm up. Its bizzare.

#32 Edited by believer258 (12615 posts) -

I would like to have more silence 'round here.

#33 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

I would like to have more silence 'round here.

Same here. I absolutely cannot work when there's noise in the other room.

#34 Posted by bybeach (5136 posts) -

I think there is a balance, especially in what you might call the ambient level you hear around you. Most ppl. still understand the concept that if in a natural setting everything stops emitting noise, there may be a predator around/something wrong. Insect hum/tv white noise(old daze) has a reassuring say environmental softness to it that the absence of if can be jarring.

I think it may possibly even go deeper into a confirmation of is-ness to ones world, that there is existence and ones place in it, and that the subtraction or negation of such commonplace noise may bring a perceptual feeling of not.

#35 Edited by Three0neFive (2298 posts) -

I probably spend like halff my day listening to music and podcasts, so yeah, I guess I need something to distract me from actually having to think about shit.

#36 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1950 posts) -

It's hard to fall asleep in complete silence unless I'm incredibly tired. I've been sleeping with a fan on my entire life.
Silence doesn't necessarily bother me while I'm awake, but I'm almost always listening to music when I'm not doing something that requires audible attention. Other times I find the ambient noise of the world very relaxing and vastly prefer that over nothing at all.

#37 Edited by ZolRoyce (974 posts) -

@slaegar said:

I don't really need noise, but when I sleep I like to have something that takes some of my concentration away. If it's something I am interested in, I may not fall asleep, if it's something completely boring, I'll ignore it and start thinking about other things. When I thing about other nonsense it fills my head and I have a hard time falling asleep.

As for general background noise I don't care for it too much since I have open headphones and I can even pick up my computer fans through them.

I'm almost the same as you, can't sleep unless I have some sort of distraction noise, otherwise I'll just think away to much, and I'm not talking well I'll lose 20 minutes of sleep, I'm talking I'll lose hours of sleep just thinking about life and it can become super bothersome so I need something on or I can't fall asleep. Only I do like to put on things I'm interested in, so long as the volume is on low and my eyes are closed I'll get to sleep despite how interested in what I'm listening to I am. I can fall asleep to music sometimes but I find that allows me to much thinking time as well.

As far as noise goes while I'm awake, maybe due to living in the country I'm fine with a general lack of noise, of course if there is no noise at all that would mean the power is out in the house so that's no good, but no noise is fine in general as fall as being comfortable goes.
However, I almost always have a game/podcast/tv/move going so I don't feel so lonely.

#38 Posted by development (2920 posts) -

I'd prefer to be without it, but I can't. I have bad chronic tinnitus. Sound never leaves me. Not even white noise negates the tinnitus screaming... but it can help a little.

#39 Posted by believer258 (12615 posts) -

@believer258 said:

I would like to have more silence 'round here.

Same here. I absolutely cannot work when there's noise in the other room.

I can work with noise around me, but it's really distracting.

It's not just that, though. At night around here, it's completely silent. Dead silent. I love it, it's a big part of the reason why I stay up so late.

My biggest problem, though, is sleeping with noise around me. I can't actually go to sleep until everyone else has, and even then things have to settle down a lot.

So, yeah. I like the absence of noise. I imagine I wouldn't like it if I heard no noise whatsoever for hours at a time, but a precious hour or two without so much as a peep is pretty great.

#40 Posted by fisk0 (5008 posts) -

I'm pretty into the music genre as well. But, yeah, I probably sleep a bit better to the sound of fans.

That said, I live right next to a road and a construction site, and I have a harder time sleeping when there are loud truck or bike engines outside, or when they're blowing up rocks at the construction site.

#41 Edited by pyromagnestir (4378 posts) -

Depends on the noise.

I have a fan on year round. It is often just for noise. It is on right now.

And give me rain and a thunderstorm and I'm good.

But if it's talking or people doing something? Make that shit shut the hell up.

#42 Posted by Splodge (2240 posts) -

I cant sleep without some kind of white noise, unless there is no sound whatsoever.

Spent a week in Venice in february once, and there were no tourists. Venice is strange because there are no cars in the city, so there is no background noise. My hotel room was totally silent with the windows open. That was the nicest sleep I have ever had.

Failing complete silence, I generally have a podcast on so I can sleep.

#43 Posted by Ben_H (3549 posts) -

I can't work without music and I can't sleep without some form of noise. In spring/summer I have an oscillating fan that fits the bill. Winter can be a bit tougher.

I have wondered if it is why I often have trouble focusing when writing tests. The rooms are almost always silent.

Weirdly enough, at my cabin I can sleep fine in silence. Not sure why. And it is way quieter there than in the city. Might be the air or something. A few different parts of my extended family have/had cabins there too and they all say the same thing.

#44 Posted by Kaiserreich (795 posts) -

I'm the same, fan on 24/7 and podcast or music when I'm out or doing chores around the house.

#45 Edited by Lego_My_Eggo (1077 posts) -

Yes and no, during the day im perfectly fine without any noise, it helps me think and lets my mind wander, and something like a PC or a fan can be distracting if i need to think. But when im going to bed i need a TV on. I need the distraction of listening and focusing on it so i can stop thinking, otherwise i just have thoughts going through my head constantly and will stay up all night. But if something like a fan, clock, or a PC is on when im trying to sleep it drives me crazy and i have to turn them off.

#46 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1749 posts) -

I've lived in a city for most of my adult life, and whenever I visit my parents in the suburbs, the utter silence weirds me out a bit. I've also lived in studio apartments most of the time, so I'm pretty accustomed to hearing a refrigerator going and whatnot.

At one point, I lived on a second-floor apartment facing a 24-hour streetcar route. They're not that noisy, but they make a variety of mechanical noises and vibrate the street. Visitors would always comment on it, but when I moved to a sidestreet, I found I missed the noise. I know there's a camp that believes you don't get ideal sleep unless it's perfectly quiet, but I think it really comes down to what you're used to.

Also, I pretty much always listen to podcasts while lying in bed, then shut it off the second I start feeling sleepy.

#47 Posted by Pezen (1754 posts) -

Certainly not all the time, but if my mind is running rampant when I am trying to relax I use a variety of sounds (including but not limited to someone typing on a mechanical keyboard, unwrapping and eating hard candy and rainstorms). Music is something I can be either completely in need of or hating beyond reason. Some days my wife turns on the stereo and it's like knives in my ears. Not because I dislike the music, but because it's sound I didn't create/make happen. Other times background music is much needed.

Overall though, I think I value silence more than noise. Sure, noise has it's places and uses. But I never really experience noises and go "oh man, this is great" the way I do when I want to relax after work or find myself outdoors somewhere where it's just silent.

#48 Posted by pinner458 (1010 posts) -

I need a podcast playing to go asleep, otherwise my brain doesn't shut up talking and my mind wanders and I start thinking about stupid nonsensical shit

#49 Posted by Cerberus3Dog (534 posts) -

I've lived in cities long enough to be used to noise, but whenever I head back to my hometown I get a relatively soundless atmosphere. It's nice.

#50 Posted by Egg0 (178 posts) -

I like to have my fan on when I go to bed. Doesn't matter if it's summer or winter, it's hard for me to fall asleep without its sound.