The Delicious Sound of Silence

Earplugs can help to create the delicious sound of silence

When I pulled the soft, yellow foam earplugs out of my ears I heard a noise like an alarm in the distance. I knew it wasn’t the alarm clock; we’re up early naturally, so we never set it. After a little investigation, I discovered that it was my camera letting me know I’d forgotten to recharge the battery.

There are certain noises I don’t want to hear—snoring is one of them—that’s why I wear earplugs to bed (yellow).

A few years ago when Len and I attended The Center on Deafness in Deerfield, Illinois we instituted one “deaf” day a week where we wore three-flange earplugs (blue) all day and only spoke in sign language—whether we were at home, or not. It was during that window of time that I really learned the pleasure of immersing myself in the delicious sound of silence.

When we ride our bikes, I wear “wind” plugs (flesh color). I can still hear (because of a small hole down the center), but wind can’t get in. That becomes increasingly important as the weather gets colder. If I need to convert them to earplugs (no sound), all I have to do is insert the little cylinders into the holes and, Voilà!

It’s rare that I put something in my ears for the purpose of hearing. Many people enjoy music through ear-buds attached to their iPod, or computer. I prefer listening to music in more of a surround-sound style, with my ears unencumbered. If I’m watching a DVD on my laptop that Len’s not interested in, I wear soft, over-the-ear headphones.

I’m incredibly grateful for my hearing, but I’m also glad that I have the option of blocking out certain noises. When was the last time you wore earplugs—what noise were you blocking?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

20 thoughts on “The Delicious Sound of Silence

    • Kim – Yes, those little “cylinders” come in mighty handy if you want to go into an almost “soundless” state. Without them they’re perfect for hearing, but blocking out the wind — the best of both worlds.

  1. I have warn soft ear plugs many times to my son’s music shows. He always asks “you got your ear plugs mom? It’s going to be loud.” I have also warn ear plugs when I was young working in a small sawmill and much older when I was learning to use a chainsaw. These ear plugs are the spongy kind that you squish all up and then they inflate back up once you have stuffed them in your ear. There purpose is to protect the ear from damage.

    I am sensitive to sound and don’t like back ground noise like a radio and as you know we don’t have TV. The noise of the city streets can have me feeling overwhelmed and frantic in about 45 minutes unless I consciously relax into it – and remind myself when I am leaving. However, I have never considered where ear plugs to block out unwanted sounds. It has just never occurred to me. I have always just turned them off or got away from them (neither very satisfying approaches with a partner you love who snores). Something to think about.

  2. I wear the EVERY night!!! I sleep next to a snorer. He’s not too loud but I need the plugs. My brother in law snores also. I used to have to wear plugs when they lived in a trailer home even though he was at the opposite side of the trailer! So now, even if I’m alone somewhere without a snorer, I still wear my plugs at night. It does make it a tad difficult to hear the alarm clock when I actually use it.

  3. Hi, Laurie — silence is indeed a blessing and it is a struggle sometimes to actually find it. Having just spent two days at a nature spirits shamanic workshop, I am still amazed at the sounds I can hear outside without the background noise of people talking or traffic. I wore ear plugs when I was learning to fire a gun. I am not sure I would be able to wear them at night for sleeping. I want to be able to hear what is going on inside my house. However, I will definitely get the kind to wear while biking in cold weather. My ear drums freeze their little hides!

    • Barbara – A weekend long nature spirits shamanic workshop sounds like it would be wonderful! If you decide to get some of the “wind” plugs for cold weather, here’s the information that’s written on the outside of my little earplug case: “Howard Leight Hearing Protection.” There’s not a model number, and I think they have several types to choose from. I’ve had mine for years (these aren’t the disposable type like the foam ones are).

  4. I seldom wear anything in my ears to block sound, I really haven’t the need for it. If I turn on the television in one room, I don’t want to hear it in another. I love the quiet. At many periods in my life I enjoyed and often ignored the jingly jangly background noises of radios, sound equipment or television. Now I like to hear the birds singing, my chickens gossiping and fussing, the sound of a vehicle in my graveled driveway and the occasion car passing down the road. I love to hear the wind in the trees and the rain on my roof. Mostly just my homely sounds, not especially loud or distracting, comfort noise.

    • Sandi – I like “comfort noise” too, especially the homey types that you describe like birds singing and the wind in the trees. And there’s nothing better than listening to a full blown thunder storm — that’s the best!

  5. Hi Laurie,

    Now if we could wear internal earplugs that block the constant chatter that distracts us for “listening with our heart” we would be set!

    Another thought to ponder is that when one sense is “off” the others become keener. I have several deaf friends that I sign with in the Bahamas and over 30 years I have been able to observe their gift of vision. They see and appreciate much more than many of us that are not impaired.

    Thanks for starting off my day.

    • Good morning, Lisa. I love your idea bout “internal earplugs” to block distracting chatter from our hearts. And you’re right, when we block off one sense, the others seem to stand up and salute–they go on high alert. Our deaf friends, too, seem to be aware of so much more. I’m glad for your visit, thank you for stopping in.

  6. I love the sound of silence! It is so rich and empty and full. As for ear plugs…don’t think I’ve ever worn them. Oh! Not true! We wear ear protection when we cut firewood. That noise can be truly deafening.

    A day without silence is like a day without…air. Hard to breathe! Thank you for your post.

    • Kathy – Like you, we wear hearing protection when using the chainsaw to cut firewood, and also when we mow, trim hedges, weed wack, and use the blower. Landscaping equipment can be l-o-u-d!

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