My alarm goes off at 6 am. Ugh. I just want to crawl back under the covers, but my dog whimpers from the living room letting me know she needs to go outside. As I open the back door for her, the automatic timer clicks on the coffee pot and the pitter patter of brewing coffee gives me hope for a little relief from my morning grogginess.
As I walk into my garage, I note that there are children laughing and talking nearby walking to school. I’ll need to be especially careful as I back my car out. As I pull onto the highway, my car makes a quiet clicking noise. What on earth is that? That can’t be good. I’ll need to stop by the dealer and have that checked out.
As I’m walking into work, a friend calls out to me from across the street. I haven’t seen her in forever. I need to remember to give her a call later and make plans for a lunch date. The bells on the front office jingle as I walk in announcing my arrival to my coworkers, and the day proceeds with an array of phone calls, e-mails, and meetings. The last meeting of the day is a large staff meeting. Everyone is talking over one another with ideas for the new training program. Is that the phone ringing in the next room? It’s barely audible with everyone speaking at once. I’d better go answer it.
On the way home, ambulance sirens fill the air and I look in my review mirror to see if I need to pull to the side of the road. Sure enough, here they come. My phone pings that I have a text message, so I check it while I’m still pulled over. I finish driving home and pull back into my garage. When I get out, I press the button on my keyless entry and wait for the chirp that informs me my car is now locked.
My dog barks a greeting as I enter the house and my cat purrs next to my leg equally excited to see me. I set the oven to preheat and put a pot of water on the stovetop to begin the preparation of my dinner. As the oven lets out a long beep to let me know it’s finally reached 350 degrees, the pot of water softly bubbles in the background.
The friend that I saw earlier calls to catch up and her quiet voice is difficult to discern over the hectic noises of her kids playing in the background, but we set up the lunch date I’d been thinking we needed. I finally settle in to watch my favorite TV show, and eventually head off to bed setting my alarm for the next morning.
Sounds impact every part of my day. They have social, economic, and safety effects. My ability to hear makes the difference between whether or not I wake up on time for work, whether I catch the mechanical issue on my car early enough to fix it before it causes bigger problems, and how fully I get to participate in the world around me. Losing those sounds would not only create a wall between me and the people (and animals) I interact with and care about, it would also just make daily activities far more difficult. So the question is–are you missing some of the sounds in your life? And are you living your life to its fullest without them?