Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Quiet Riot

My Woeful Tale about ADHD and Background Noise.

Static NoiseOne aspect of AD/HD that drives me bonkers is my inability to close out background noise. In fact, a better way to describe it would be to say that foreground and background noise switch within the addled confines of my mind. This is one reason I despised taking exams at the testing center during my time at BYU.

After passing through metal detectors and receiving a deep body cavity search, my pockets would be emptied out by use of gravity waves. These waves would be generated by very tall athletes lifting me heavenward by the ankles while shaking me roughly. It is assumed the accoutrements of deception would fall to the ground. I lost more pocket change that way.

Once I survived the gauntlet of hands and had my backpack x-rayed for radio devices, I would be allowed into the testing area with a simple No. 2 pencil and what was left of my dignity. There I would begin my test and experience the new assault: silence. This was a silence so heavy I could feel its weight on the back of my shoulders bearing me down.

Once the mind grew accustomed to the silence, then the fun began. Soon I could hear the room filled with sniffles and coughs like bird calls in an expansive aviary. The sniffles soon became snuffles to me, and then even those were drowned out by the pencil tappers. Seemingly harmless to those with normal brains, the gentle strikes of No. 2 pencils would hammer my brain like blows from a steel foundry.

pap pap pap bap bap BAP BAP

What I would have given for my trusty Walkman with a fresh set of batteries and some music to drown out the random noise.

These days I find the same type of assault when I try to fall asleep. Invariably, my insomnia has me ending the day when others are beginning. The happy hustle and bustle of the world awaking to new purpose makes falling asleep nigh near impossible. Fortunately, I have discovered a weapon to close out the din: white noise.

With the sounds of tropical Hawaiian rain, or binaural beat filled music by Pzizz, I can drown out the morning commotion and drift off to rest.

Of course, my white noise isn't quite the official variety. Most people think of white noise being a sound like a television that has lost its over-the-air signal. Regardless, any kind of white noise can be surprisingly relaxing, especially if there is subtle variety in the noise.

Although there are sundry machines dedicated to generating white noise, I have found most to be overly priced and underly satisfying with their short, repeating loops. Over time, I have found alternatives through trial & error. (Find links for them below)

Today, however, I am excited to share with you simplynoise


The site is cleanly designed, and you don't need a sound engineering degree like many apps I have found seem to require. Choose your flavor of noise (white, pink, or brown/red), slide the volume control to the desired output, and enjoy. I find enabling the oscillating volume adds variety to the sound that is both pleasant and non-distracting. If you have troubles shutting the world out when you need to study, write, create, etc., you may find this free service perfect for your needs.

Regrettably, I did not have this white noise in my arsenal when taking exams those long eons ago. If I had, I may have actually passed a class or two. Still, it is not likely they would have let me bring a white noise generator into the testing room, and, frankly, I would not have been able to smuggle it in. Back then it would have been the size of a Honda CRX.

These CDs for sale on are lifesavers for me:
Midnight Rainshower (MP3) by The Atmosphere Collection
Tropical Surf (MP3) by the Atmosphere Collection

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