Turn the %#&*# Noise Down


I can sympathize

One of the more irritating ‘little’ things about my condition is noise sensitivity. I don’t think this topic gets talked about or studied as much as it should. Perhaps it’s because for most people, they can’t imagine the insane irritation the condition engenders.
The volume control in our home’s television is the main indicator of my waxing and waning sensitivity. Sometimes, I have the volume set on 16 and it’s perfectly fine. An hour later, it’s maddening. It can go down to 12. 
The even numbers are a leftover of the severe OCD I had as a child. That is another subject altogether but I have a comfort with even numbers which my wife tolerates. 
Commercials are the bane of my existence. I don’t monopolize the TV remote because I’m some kind of sexist pig but because my wife understands how disturbed I can get with the rising volume of TV commercials and lets me swing the volume up and down as it pleases me.
For this I am eternally grateful.
By the way, don’t EVER let anyone tell you the volume isn’t raised for commercials. My hearing is sensitive enough to make a strong case.
The worst are car ads but they are not the sole offenders. These ads usually come with a wall of noise provided by either shrieking electric guitars or some kind of machine press noise ratcheted up to the level of a jet plane taking off. Well, at least to me.
Pussy cow, pussy cow, pussy cow. Californians will get it
I know the trick is to grab the viewer’s attention. It certainly works with me but I make a mental note of the worst offenders and vow never to buy anything from them. 
One of my golden rules is this: never buy anything from someone who yells at you in the commercial. That goes for radio and Internet as well. Also, and this may anger some, be careful of any ad using country music as a backdrop – it indicates the audience they are looking to attract, especially with car ads. I like older country music (think Buck Owens, Edward Arnold, Conway Twitty, et. al.) but the nonsense that gets played is a transparent play for people who lack buyer’s sophistication. In short, they are insulting their intended audience, but if it didn’t work, I suppose they wouldn’t do it.
To wake you from TV stupor and BUY!
But I digress, obviously.
I’m amazed the lettering hasn’t worn off the volume buttons on the remote. 
The other problem is tinnitus. Most of the time, I’m aware of a low-grade machine-like whine in my ears but since it’s so constant I can ignore it. Except when I can’t. I have noticed that my noise sensitivity seems most pronounced when the tinnitus is at its worst.
I have never mentioned that to any of my doctors. I guess it’s because I never considered it worth complaining about, and besides, what can you do about it?
Well yeah, kind of like this
The strange thing is I rarely adjust the volume of the radio that controls the sound system in the house. I almost always play classical music on the radio so maybe that’s a clue. I don’t know.
Right now, the ringing in my eyes is pretty bad. It’s somewhere between a machine whine and a high pitched whistling wind. I have no idea why I have this issue or whether my medications impact it. 
In any case, I have the same issue in the car. Again, I have to thank my wife for my volume fiddling habit which would drive most people nuts. Up and down, up and down. She can usually tell by the pained expression on my face.
It’s hard to say exactly what it feels like. It’s anxiety, yes, but a different sort than the normal anxiety which is more of a worry thing. What I feel from noise is like someone holding a joy buzzer to my head. That’s the best way I can describe it. 
The sad thing, at least to me, is that I used to like my music LOUD, especially rock. Whether at home or in the car, especially when I was alone I would crank up the Stones or Springsteen until it shook the floors. 
One night coming home from a party, my mom said she could hear my car radio 30 seconds before I got in the driveway.
I have no idea if the loudness of my youth hurt my hearing and left me with this condition. I don’t think so for another reason: I rarely listen to rock or pop anymore. On Sept. 11, I’m going down to Consul Energy Center to see Bruce Springsteen, consistently my favorite rocker. The Boss and I go back a long way and I’ve seen him and the E Street Band five other times throughout the years.
I’m hoping I can get the old feeling back – the excitement, the arousal, the enjoyment. I also hope I can take the noise level. 
Please let the magic happen one last time. . .
This whole issue started with the problems at work, circa 2011. To soothe jangled nerves, I started listening to the old standards like Sinatra, the big bands, the crooners etc. I also started listening to classical music. Never in a million years did I think I would have become a classical fan, but it happened. 
The depressing thing is, I can’t seem to go back to the rock and roll I loved so much just a decade or so ago.
Age? Or mental condition? Or a little of both. I used to make fun of my mom watching The Lawrence Welk Show after her devotion to the music of her youth (the 50s). Now I take it all back. I get it. 
If it’s too loud, you’re too old, right? No. At least I hope not. 
But still, I have a problem with silence, except at work, where I prefer quiet so I can think and chew gum at the same time. And yet, here I am, typing this blog entry with the TV on in the background.
I don’t get it. But I’ve already changed the volume six times in the last 30 minutes.
This entry was posted in anxiety, getting old, noise, radio, Springsteen, tinnitus. Bookmark the permalink.

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