Drown It Out

hiya readers-

I’m writing to you from the “Harry Potter” reading room at Douglas library. The light is nice in here today, and it’s wonderfully quiet. I’m often impressed at how this space attracts like-minded, scholarly types who just want to get their work done in peace.

But that wasn’t the case yesterday afternoon. I had a few spare hours and decided to hunker down at the library and work on revising my proposal (yes, I know it’s technically due today, but this thing is a work in progress, ok?). Regretfully, I ended up sitting down across from three young looking students who, though initially quiet, got more and more comfortable whispering, giggling, and eating food in loud, annoying wrappers while they worked.

Some days I can block that stuff out. Other days, I get distracted with each and every sound. Yesterday afternoon was definitely the latter.

I’ve noticed, working here, that many of my peers wear headphones while they work. I’m inclined to think that they drown out the sounds of strangers with the help of music? My problem is that I find it impossible to concentrate when I’m listening to music. Without fail, my mind goes wandering off in the direction of the lyrics and I find it hard to reel it back in – especially when I’m doing something language intensive, like writing or reading.

But yesterday I was desperate. Rather than strangle the whispering threesome, I stuck my headphones in my ears to see if I could use them like ear plugs. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite do the trick. I still felt like I was being distracted.

Thankfully, however, I remembered a friend talking gleefully (the way I talk about mytomatoes.com) about something called Pink Noise, and how she often turns to it when she needs to concentrate. Intrigued, I looked it up and came upon a Pink Noise generator here: http://simplynoise.com/

Here’s an explanation of Pink Noise from the Wise Geek website:

“Pink noise is a type of signal that contains all of the sound frequencies that fall within the range of a human being’s hearing — from the lowest pitches that a person can hear to the highest tones. A variation of white noise, pink noise is usually created when these audible tones are joined together at the exact same time and density. It is sometimes referred to as 1/fnoise or flicker noise.”

Apparently Pink Noise can be relaxing, and helpful if you need to sleep. It’s also great, as it turns out, for masking noise, and for giving you something to listen to in your headphones when you want your ears plugged, but you don’t want to have to resort to music.

I’m pleased to tell you that I managed to get a fair bit of work done yesterday (though I left with a sore brain after too reading too much theory). I haven’t had to resort to the Pink Noise generator yet this morning, as the room nothing but quiet. But I’m happy to have a website I can turn to when things get annoying in here…

Posted in SGS Blog 2010-2011, Uncategorized

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