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Personal update

For the past week+ one of the heaters in the basement has been on every few minutes and making lots more noise, vibrating my bedroom. Sleep has been poor. I spent a night in the Motel 6, which wasn't as bad as reviews suggested, though I didn't sleep well there either... The landlord's guy did something yesterday, which initially helped a lot; I slept for the first time in days without aids like earplugs and my fan on max. But by 5am the vibration was back; later investigation suggests the pipe insulation added is now loose. Of course, didn't hurt that yesterday was nice and warm.

Still, even with the 5am interruption (on a rare 10:30pm bedtime), I felt much better this morning than I have in a while, feeling as if I'd caught up a bit. Hope the guy gets back out today for further work.

I have newly keen interest in soundproofing and sleep aids. I got Bose QuickComfort 2 noise-cancelling headphones, but I'm not sure yet how much they do; seem poor against my fan. And I got them cheap, at $140 off some Amazon seller. $15 Peltor earmuffs seem to do a much better job of making sound go away. I've also got a variety of earplugs; the top two recommendations online seem to be Hearos Ulimate Softness, though the Hearos Xtreme Protection from Kroger seem to block better (but irritate my ears more) and the Howard Leight MAX (or Max Lite, or Laser Lite, for smaller ear canals.) Soundproofing for renters sites exist, but I don't know how much help they are; thick (acoustic?) drapes and curtains and carpet might help, and there are tips on protecting yourself from ceiling noise, though that's not my problem. There's a Sleep-Eze noise-isolating earbuds with built-in white noise generator out there, though I didn't buy a pair.

The whole psychology of sound and sleep, plus hearing, is interesting, though I wish it was less personal. I say "what?" a fair bit in conversation, suggesting I have either hearing or voice processing problems, but I also seem more sensitive to faint sounds than others, e.g. noticing when Josh knocked to visit the rabbit last week, and other faint alerts. And I'm unfortunately sensitive to lots of sounds while trying to sleep, including faint bass or voices in general. Cars don't bug me much. Sounds I control seem to generally be more okay, e.g. a fan much louder than the outside noise it's masking. (OTOH, secondary vibrations in the fan are annoying, and may merit replacement. And my own fridge is aggravating.) And then there's the fact that I can't imagine falling asleep during garbage truck noise, yet it's never woken me up, and I know from insomniac early mornings just how loud it is.

Unix white noise tips: cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp
Or this shell script. Also http://simplynoise.com



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
Phew. Not everyone can sleep with trains passing close by, I take it. ^_~
Dec. 11th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
trying to sleep amongst noise
I've had some similar experience. But fortunately for me I've worked them out more or less.
True, an ANC headset will provide quiet, but existing ANC headsets are bulky and about impossible to sleep in for very many hours in a row. My experience goes back to 1982 when I developed tinnitus. I wanted to wear a headset that sent masking sound ("pink noise") to my ears. I found that the ear sound level that suited me was about 35 dBA which was feasible with a battery powered pink noise generator output fed through a high-pass capacitor.
That worked just well enough for me to discover an important fact at one point during the wee hours when I awoke. For a half second, I did NOT hear the masking sound... then I did hear it steadily. It was at that point that I knew that our hearing system can be turned off at or by the brain! In retrospect, I remember that our infant sons, after they fell asleep, could picked and held up like a limp rag. Talking did not wake them up. They never were conscious of that. Therefore, being "sound asleep" includes the state of disconnected hearing...
In your case of a poor ANC unit, I can only say that of the several I have tried, only the Sennheiser HDC 200-120 ever gave me total silence of the sort we want, especially at very low frequencies... likely down to 20 Hz and less.
Regarding fans and vibrations, you have to investigate each separately and determine what part of the fan assembly is at fault. You may have to resort to a different fan type, or more likely to put the fans on a timer that will have them OFF for your key sleeping hours. Coming back ON can be your alarm clock, for instance.
Dec. 11th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Re: trying to sleep amongst noise
Thanks for the comments!
I'd heard good things about the Sennheiser, too. All expensive, sigh. As you say, the headsets pretty much mean sleeping on one's back (or with special pillows) which doesn't work well for me; the Bose is probably for being awake, or my next flight; Peltor for awake or naps. ANC in-ear things exist, though -- Etymotic and Shure, plus the Sleep-Eze noise generator I mentioned. I haven't liked in-canal stuff though I'm getting forced to get used to it.

One application of 'transhumanism' for me would be better sleep switches and hearing control or mental filters.

Urgh, I couldn't even take apart my last fan motor to remove dust (I tried washing the whole assembly; bad idea, it died and smoked.) This floor fan was nice when I got it, and the main masking need is for when I'm trying to go to sleep.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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