This Old House: Noises You Need to Hear

Einstein Photo
Judy Huch
August 30, 2016

HHTM Staff: Do we discuss the sounds that people need to hear?  There are times in the office people will state they don’t need to hear those annoying softer sounds, but here we highlight and pass along some areas we don’t normally think of.


What’s Your House Saying to You?

My soft water conditioner hummed along in a remote closet every day without fail for 27 years. The noise was a gentle, high-pitched whistling of water through the plumbing that lasted about 20 minutes every morning. I never “heard” it until it stopped last week.  Then I heard the silence and it was deafening.

Houses are like that, but you have to live in one for some time to develop familiarity with the various sounds your house makes. If you don’t know those sounds, it’s hard to know what to do when they stop or when you hear noises your house should NOT make.

#6. creaky floors

#6. creaky floors

A fun article entitled “What’s That Sound?  9 Home Noises and How to Fix Them” ran on the Houzz website.  Do you hear any of these?  Check out the site for explanations and recommendations on what to do.

  1. Gurgling from the toilet
  2. Knocking or banging inside the walls
  3. Radiator pops and clicks
  4. Refrigerator humming
  5. Squeaking dryer
  6. Creaking floors and stairs
  7. Rattling windows
  8. Hissing faucets
  9. Scratching/rustling/chewing in the walls and/or ceilings


Good News Bad, News

What if those sounds are there and your clients don’t hear them? That’s bad and it needs fixed. Frequently, the most cost-effective remedy is hearing aids. Good hearing aids are not cheap, but they are a lot cheaper than big-time house repairs. Our clients are surprised at what they hear when they drive home and walk into their house.  More than one patient has returned for post hearing aid fitting follow-up with a Good News-Bad News report.

  • Good News:  Speech is clearer, aids are comfortable.
  • Bad News:  House and Car make terrible rackets. Repair/replacement bills of house and car(s) exceed the cost of the hearing aids.

At least two patients purchased new cars after leaving an associate’s office with new hearing aids and discovering that their cars suddenly had all sorts of “new” noises under the hood. Recently a patient called in a report of her first two days with new hearing aids. She said she knew the new aids were much better than her old aids because her car was making noises she hadn’t heard before.


Warning Sounds and Warning Silences

Repairs and replacements of houses and cars are expensive. But avoiding them by not hearing their warning sounds, or not hearing normal sounds go silent, is a form of denial which only delays and increases your client’s costs. Sometimes, denial and delay just annoying:  when the water conditioner stops humming or the refrigerator starts humming. Other times, denial and delay can endanger your clients:  when the ceiling crashes down or the car stops dead in highway traffic.

Hearing is complicated but not hearing is more complicated. Properly fitted hearing aids un-complicate people’s hearing, enabling them to live life more simply and more successfully. That is what successful aging is all about. That’s what our houses are trying to tell us.

Feature Image Courtesy of Ask This Old House at WHYY

  1. Judy, from a consumer’s perspective, this is a great, even fun, list to hand to new hearing aid users.

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