NOTE: This week’s blog has no deeper purpose than to muse on favorite sounds. Anyone looking for words of wisdom, a shoulder to cry on, or helpful technical information should read something else and come back next week. The rest of you, read on.
On TV the other day, an announcer said how much she just lo-o-oved a particular sound—probably some nature noise, as she was, after all, the weather girl—every time she hears it.
Thinking about ‘favorite sounds’, I asked a few people about theirs. Some people go jelly-kneed at the crinkle-crackle of a chocolate bar being unwrapped. A new parent thinks their baby’s burps are the best sound ever, anywhere, anytime in the history of the universe. Hearts race at the sound of a fridge door opening—or the ding of an incoming text.
My very first boyfriend, with whom I’ve reconnected on Facebook, said he loves the sound of his wife’s laughter, which is like “twinkling sunlight reflected from water running over river stones”. I immediately relayed this to the Hearing Husband, suggesting that unless he wants me to regret not marrying Steve when we were 15, he had better come up with a good description of what my laughter sounds like to him. He got a gold star: like happy children at a playground.
At first thought, my all-time favorite sounds are those that I can hear. But while, like most people, I have hundreds of sounds that delight me—many of mine don’t ring any bells when their sound waves enter my pinnae. No matter how hard I try, strain, or sweat to hear those sounds, even with the best hearing technology in place, it’s not going to happen. My hearing system just can’t do it. But I love those sounds anyway.
My favorite sounds fall into four distinct groups.
Sounds That I Hear (Including the Mushy Stuff)
- Anything through a telecoil ‘n’ loop system—magic!
- Cards being shuffled and dealt.
- Wine (or any beverage, including water) being poured into a glass.
- Music, especially the kind that is up close and clear, like the jazz trio that played by our brunch table recently in New Orleans.
- The crunch of boots walking on snow.
- My son’s hockey games.
- The clickety-click of my laptop keyboard.
- My husband making the coffee while I stay in bed a bit longer.
- And a million more I can’t think of at the moment.
Sounds I’d Like to Hear Better
- Speech sounds – the clickety-click ones such as ‘t’ and ‘k’ and the ever-elusive ‘s’.
- Music at a dance. (Right now, it’s too loud and I can’t make out the acoustical soup.)
- My cats meowing.
- Kitchen beepers and timers that tell me something is about to be overcooked if I don’t get there, like, now.
- And a billion others that I’ll think of at 2 am.
Sounds I’ve Never Heard (But Would Like to)
- Watch ticking. (Do today’s digital watches go tick-tick-tick?)
- The car sound that makes other people go, “Oh no. Car’s making a noise.” (Not that I really want to hear this, but it’s important, you know? Especially if I’m the only one in the car.)
- Someone’s stomach gurgling when I’m standing near them. Just once, just so I can say I’ve heard it.
- Leaves rustling in the little breezes. For me, to hear wind in the trees, it has to be gale-force.
- Tap dripping or water running in another room. I only hear this high-frequency sound when I walk back in and see it. By then something has flooded.
- The forward flow of a group conversation. Sometimes when making a comment, I stop the chat cold or, worse, put it in reverse.
- I don’t know how many sounds I don’t hear because I may not know they even exist, but I’m going to guess a trillion, minimum.
Sounds I’ve Heard Before – and Would like to Hear Again Someday
- Someone whispering in my ear. Actually I can hear that, I just don’t understand it. All I get is warm air, delivered in staccato gusts with an occasional spit. I’d like the words back.
- The pretty little birds, not the big buzzards, crows and woodpeckers. I can hear the little ones when they’re gossiping in a large flock in a bush near to me, but the sound is brutal on my hearing aids.
- Understanding what somebody says from another room. I could do that when I was a kid. I think.
- I can’t remember which sounds I once heard that grew fainter as my hearing loss progressed. I regained so many of them with better technology, but I’m sure a few got away, for good.
Now, what have we learned from this blog? Absolutely nothing beyond the fact that if we can hear to some degree, and we want to hear them—sounds are one of life’s joys.