Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sound Off...or Not...It Depends

For some reason, my ears have been ringing for the last couple of months...well, not ringing, exactly. It sounds more like cicadas in the summer just as the sun is going down. WebMD indicates that I have tinnitis and suggests a white noise machine or someone babbling incessantly to drown it out. It appears to be somewhat common: about 20% of people in my age category suffer from it. (all that headbanging music through in-ear phones, don't you know!) Mostly, it's not too irritating unless I'm trying in vain to fall asleep...and it's not an unpleasant sound...not like nails on the chalkboard anyway; a sound which, according to researchers, isn't even the most annoying sound there is!
Said researcher did comparisons of 74 distinct sounds and arrived at a list of both pleasant and annoying sounds as judged by the human amygdala which controls our emotions as well as response to sounds. Let's start with the annoying list...or at least the top five:

5. Fingernails on the chalkboard.
4. A ruler on a bottle.
3. Chalk on a blackboard (thank God nobody uses THAT anymore!)
2. A fork on a glass.
1. A knife on a bottle.
To be honest, I have heard only a couple of these, and I cannot imagine being in a position to hear someone take a ruler or a knife to a bottle.
Not so mysterious, though, are the top four ( I don't know why only four made the list) most pleasant sounds:

4. Flowing water.
3. Thunder
2. A baby laughing.
1. Applause
Again, I'm a bit puzzled by the list, but I can definitely see that there would have to be categories such as "Best sounds for falling asleep" or "Most pleasant sound for a babysitter: "We're home!" Well, you get the picture.
Just the thought of water running makesme want to go to the bathroom, though.


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