Monday, July 22, 2013

Noise - starring LOUD TV Commercials

Thirteen year old Girl #3 and I are at the pediatrician’s office sitting in an examination room waiting for the doctor. It is an especially busy day and all the exams rooms are occupied. Lots of babies are here and we hear a little crying. As more time passes, we realize that we are in the middle of a crescendo of different types of crying, peaking with full blown banshee wailing.

My mindset is: There is nothing I can do about it, so I’m focusing on being relaxed and attempting to transform the crying to white noise.  Girl #3 is sitting on the exam table, her gangly arms and legs fidgeting, nose flaring, and eyes squinting—revealing her annoyance. This is a lesson in reality for her. Haha.

A while back, I wrote about a specific noise—loud music—prompted by an experience in a bloodmobile where I had to listen to it while donating blood. I thought of other places where the music is loud, too, like weddings. Most of you who responded, related, and even made me aware of a condition called tinnitus which is “ringing in the ears.”

Noise is everywhere. Fortunately, I don’t have a physical aversion to it; HOWEVER, there are times when I just.don’

My list of the 10 most undesired noise-makers:

10. blaring music while “on hold” on the phone
9. a TV left on in my house when no one’s watching it
8. TV shows in a public waiting room (unless it’s a rare exception, i.e. something I like)
 7. my girls fighting about debating an issue
6. someone singing or whistling when I’m very irritable hungry
 (Strangely, when “Layla the dog” barks, that doesn’t bother me. Hmmm…)
5. people who talk incessantly but don’t listen
4. loud obnoxious people (loud funny people are okay)
 3. one sided conversation into a cell phone
2. any music so loud that I can barely hear myself talk, let alone, the person I’m screaming at talking to
And currently, #1:
LOUD TV commercials!

I know—This was supposed to be fixed with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, rules that Congress directed the FCC to establish which went into effect on December 13, 2012; however, my sensitivities are still detecting that undesired noise. Could it be me? Usually, my TV time is when I’m in the kitchen.  Let me think—are the commercials more bothersome when other noises are happening, too;  like the dishwasher, the cooktop fan, the oven fan, excited talking children, phones buzzing and ringing, running water from the sink faucet, etc? Or, is it when I’m enjoying a quiet, quick meal at the countertop while catching a little low volume TV? I think it’s both.

While watching the local news recently, when they broke for a commercial (or was it when they came back from a commercial?), even their “We’ll be back” or “We’re back” jingle stunned me. There was no time to mute or turn down the volume.

Anyway, none if this is life altering for me; just doing some mild venting.

What I “do” like to hear: birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind, ocean waves pounding the sand, children laughing, music I choose to hear, the voices of my family when we’re chatting… peaceful stuff.

What’s on your “undesired noise” list? How about your “pleasant to hear” list?

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Judy Thomas said...

# 1 hated noise: TV. Anytime, anywhere, I don't watch it. I really hate it in a restaurant or doctor's waiting room.
# 2. Leafblowers, those unnecessary, gas guzzling polluting noisy awful machines.

Shelly said...

Having just come from the gym, my dislike is loud, heavy metal music (especially early in the morning) when I'm trying to get my workout on.

I'm with you on all of this!

Jenny said...


Noise is soooo darned ... ummm... noisy.

My husband and I actually have a push rotary mower. One of our granddaughters commented that we were nice not to put so much noise into the world.

Tabor said...

Write your cable provider as they are the ones who can change the sounds of commercials being to loud. I have noticed this too, and must track the exact show, time and channels so that when I write my letter, I have the data!

Rebecca S. said...

I share a lot of your list of auditory irritants. Here are a few more: the neighbours having a raucous party when I am trying to sleep; leaf blowers; bad radio stations; women who talk loudly through their noses; children who just scream and scream for the fun of it (I was never allowed to do that as a child, not even outside!). I like to hear the machine in the coffee shop making my coffee and foaming the steamed milk, bird song, especially red winged blackbirds, babies laughing and three-year old kid chatter. I love live music and the opening music of my favourite PBS mystery shows! Life is rich, when you think about it :)

Rob-bear said...

I have tinnitus, and that alone is a sound without which I could do nicely!

Nicer sounds: birds chirping; water on rocks, classical music (not too loud).

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting
Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

Abby said...

I didn't know there was a CALM act. Those loud commercials bug me too!

I also don't like movies that blare the soundtrack too loud, or where the dialogue scenes are so quiet, and then there's a car chase or some such that unroots the hair.

Video game noises. I have a limit.

Hilary said...

I'm noticing the commercials also. In fact, I'm not hearing any change from before CALM.

I find people speak more loudly when talking on cell phones.

I have trouble with neighbours partying. Not on the first night. Not on the second. Maybe not even on the third. But when they party most every summer night, that's too much.

I don't like websites/blogs that are auto set to play music when you land on their page. I am already usually listening to my own music and when someone else forces theirs to mingle with mine, I start feeling stressed and tend to click away before leaving a comment.

I don't like much of my son's choice in music.. unless he's the one making music. Then I could listen to that all day.

Linda Hensley said...

I'd include all of your list except I've had multiple conversations with my dog about unnecessary barking. When someone comes to the door, barking good. A kid or squirrel half a block away is outside of the desirable bark zone. I'd also include music in someone else's car that I don't like, and it's way too loud if both mine and their windows are up and I can still hear it and the bass is making my heart beat off rhythm.

betty-NZ said...

Years ago, I remember seeing ads for tvs that keep the commercial volume the same as the program and I thought it was a great idea. But they never took off. I always wondered why.

Bryan Jones said...

Hated noises: vacuum cleaner, spin-dryer, washing-machine, jazz, any "dramatic" background music on documentaries, chiming clocks.

Good sounds: similar to yours plus a clock ticking, birds singing.

Linda said...

Being a HSP (highly sensitive person), I am not a fan of noise, so I am with you on this. I travel on the city bus and metro system (Montreal) and I can't begin to tell you how many one-sided cell conversations I have heard. Great post.

Anya said...

As a musician, my ears are always on high alert for good sounds -- if you're listening you can find them almost anywhere...I guess the only problem is that you have to filter all the annoying sounds out along the way. :)
Loud sounds with no apparent purpose bug me to no end.
And the sound of my babies crying...whew, I think it's a mama thing, but it can make me feel crazy in no time at all. :)

Barb said...

Anita - you've been so prolific while I'm on my blog break. I'm reading to "catch up" with you. I like silence! (Notice how I used the exclamation point.) I'm perfectly happy with no background noise unless it's a babbling brook, chirping bird, or the rustle of my footsteps along a trail. If a restaurant plays music too loud and won't turn it down, I never patronize them again. We old people can barely hear the conversation anyway without all the background noise.