Posted by: Rob | September 8, 2011


Individual silicone earplug worn at ear with E...

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A FBRL* friend posted a link to a piece in the New York Times Health section that details a condition** called “misophonia”.  Misophonia, literally dislike of sound, can lead to instantaneous, blood-boiling rage.  The key triggers discussed centre primarily around the sounds of other people eating, like chewing or slurping.

While I can tolerate – mostly – the table sounds of others without spiraling into rage, I do find that a host of other sounds that others find innocuous, if they even hear them, can affect me.  Anywhere from minor annoyance to solidly on edge.  Not all sounds are quiet or low in volume, but both loud and quiet noises can have an effect.

There has been long suffering, for as long as I’ve lived in the ‘burg, caused by rail traffic.  Our ‘burg is bracketed on either end by grade crossings of rail over road.  Both crossings are now equipped with bells and flashing red lights, but rail regulations require sounding of the train’s whistle upon approach.  I’ve walked the tracks and I know where the signs that prompt the train driver to start sounding the whistle, but all the train drivers on this line are sadistic bastards and they all lay on the horn well in advance of the crossing.  The later at night, the earlier the whistle starts.  There are some really sick fucks who, in the wee hours between midnight and waking, start the whistle and one crossing and hold it on all the way through our ‘burg and out the other end.  In the summertime, the bedroom window is open for cool night air and the train’s whistle is sure to make me jump out of bed and shut it.  Usually around the time the whistling stops.

Lawn mowers are another peeve.  I only mow my own lawn under duress.  I hate mowing and when I mow, I wear ear plugs.  This helps preserve (what’s left of) my hearing and it mutes the lawn mower noise***.  Everyone else in the neighbourhood seems to love mowing.  Seems like they’ll mow two or three times a week, just for the hell of it.  And, of course, they all stagger their mowing times, so there’s a near continuous hum of mower all day Saturday and Sunday.  Doesn’t anyone appreciate a little peace and quiet?

We have an aiport**** of sorts near our ‘burg.  Yet another externality occurs when pilot wannabes come out from the city to strut their stuff.  Part of the practice routine involves take-offs and landings, with a big circle in between in order to get back where one started from.  The circle flight path lies….yes, you got it…..directly over our house.  As the same airplane putt-putts over our yard again and again, I fantasize about green laser pens and ack-ack.

Every week – on Wednesdays – at work, there are tests of the emergency alert systems.  Every week we are serenaded by a host of alert tone combinations the finale of which is the all clear – a long steady tone.  Yesterday, the all clear seemed to get stuck and it only stopped just as I surpassed my breaking point, got up and slammed my office door.

I’m starting to think this list could go on and on, so I’ll finish up with “fall peepers”.  I trust you know what spring peepers are?  The cheeping sound you hear from marshy areas in the spring when frogs and other swamp dwellers are mating and such.  Well, around here we have what I call fall peepers, because the first time I heard it, that’s what I thought it was: fall peepers brought on by rampant climate change and global warming.  It turns out that the noise is from the condenser fin fans on the new ice plant at the community arena.  I don’t know if it’s a fan pitch setting glitch or what, but since the ice plant upgrade a year or two ago, we get to hear fall peepers all winter long.  They must be putting the ice into the rink today, because tonight I heard fall peepers.

* FBRL equals a combo facebook and real life friend.  In this case, someone who was a real life friend before the world wide web and long before Zuckerberg stole the idea for facebook.

** Hate that term when applied to malady.

*** Yes, yes, yes, I’ve tried a reel mower.  They are very quiet, but who has four fucking hours to spend mowing  a postage stamp sized lawn?!?

**** It’s actually been re-named the something something Aerodrome after somebody not famous enough for me to remember his name.


  1. Yeah, I almost never hear the trains. Even during the day. I feel the ground shaking though but the sound never penetrates, especially if I am doing something.

    I hear the lawn mowers, but I am from suburbia and it’s just whitenoise to me.

    That peeper noise? I had no idea what you were talking about and still very seldom “hear” it.

    You and Dee are the most hearing sensitive ppl I know.

  2. mine? vacuum cleaners. the sound makes my hair stand up. while married, my ex husband was in charge of all vacuuming, as it drove me insane and i had to leave the room… with pets? this is one of the reasons i ‘contract out’ my housecleaning. it has to be done very regularly. i can’t stand doing it…

  3. For me, it’s the sound of a clock. Tick…tick…tick…tick…. aughhh!!! Perhaps it’s the constant reminder of the passage of time.

    Anyway, I hope you have some nice, quiet days without trains, planes, and peepers! 🙂

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