Silence in the city

Lien

August 2020

tinnitus

(noun) [ˈtɪn.ɪ.təs]

a perception of sounds generated by the nervous system of the ear and brain. Often described as ringing, humming, whistling or buzzing noises, tinnitus can be constant or periodic and vary in loudness.

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A constant ringing

A few months ago, Lien and I did some catching up in a coffeehouse. When she heard about this project, she noted that silence is a funny concept for her and told me about her tinnitus

Her approach to (absolute) silence is different: 

anything 'too silent' isn't a good thing. In the absence of other sounds, she can hear the ringing in her ears.

"Real silence does not exist for me, so a situation with some pleasant little sounds feels most like silence to me.

In general, I don’t think that complete silence exists, there is always a creaking sound somewhere, isn't it? "

Citylife

"It was so much quieter at my parent’s place in the countryside, but that also implied that I heard my tinnitus more often there. 

Here in the city, I can count on one hand how many times I lay awake because of my tinnitus."

"It also helps that we live in a house with wooden floorboards: there’s always a creaking sound somewhere, or another pleasant noise that you recognize, yet it still feels like silence because the sounds aren’t too present."

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Sound of water

"My favourite sound is the movement of water. So that could be a bath, or just being around water in general: water sounds and nature sounds can be so pleasant for me. The same counts for soft sounds like little bells."

When it’s silent, I think of nothing, that’s really lovely, I can enjoy that. I try to find inner peace by not pondering too much and I think I’m pretty good at it. "

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Silent disco

​"Once, we went to a silent disco where you can control the volume of your headphones and I loved that concept because I could pick the lowest volume, yet still hear the music and have fun."

"I love it when I can adjust the intensity of a sound. 

Usually, I try to avoid situations with too much noise or I try to make it more silent for myself. 

So whenever I go to a party or even to the cinema, I always have earplugs with me to make sure the tinnitus won’t get worse.

listen to Lien's silence

"Thankfully, I am very tolerant of sounds, I can sleep with the window open: it actually helps me to be at peace."