I’m borrowing the muggle term from the popular Harry Potter series because in many ways just the sound of the word “muggle” seems to get at the heart of this problem. We live in a world now where people can’t seem to stand the sound of silence. It drives them crazy. Literally. One company has designed a sound proof room for audio testing and has discovered that any human left alone in the room can’t last more than a few minutes before the silence drives them to escape back to the world of noise.
Of course, I’m not advocating absolute silence. But I’ve noticed people around me seem to feel that the need to fill the world with noise, as if trying to assert that they do exist. And so do all their devices. Have you ever been trapped in a waiting room with music playing over the speakers competing with the sound of the blaring television and over that they sound of the PA system summoning this person or that. Then add on that conversations, people talking on cell phones, and general noise caused by movement and machinery and you’ve got muggle noise.
The question then becomes what to do about it. Now, sometimes we can remove ourselves from the situation or at least be happy we don’t have to spend more time in places where noise is continually blasted at us. Other times, well, we find ourselves in a place where we can’t escape the noise. What then?
I’ve discovered that you can fight noise with noise. In this case – white noise. I run it on my computer when I’m working and writing because really, I don’t want to listen to the muggle noise all day long. And there are applications that let me create white noise using my phone. Just Google “white noise” and you’ll find plenty of options. White noise generators come with a variety of selections these days from the pure “static” sound that is technically white noise to a selection of nature sounds that have a soothing effect on our subconscious. I usually go for a combination of rain and ocean noises. If I have to defeat really loud muggle noise, I add in a something like thunder to drown it out. The only problem is I find myself craving a cup of tea and a mystery novel.