A needle of Hope
amid a haystack of Chaos.

Homo Sensitivus: What I Hear

Created: Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
17:28:50 UTC

When I'm in stillness, I hear a very very high pitched hum, coming from behind my face, behind my ears, and down.

When I'm in ABSOLUTE stillness and lying prone on the bare desert Earth of the American Southwest, I hear a very low, deep down bumping sound that sounds sort of like bass from distant 18 wheelers continuously revving their engines, only much much lower. Momentarily, every now and then, I hear inside my head what can only be described as the sine waves testing sounds, for a only a second or three. Still don't know what those are.

Concerned I had tinnitus, I went for a battery of tests in 2005. I was told, unequivocably, no tinnitus. What I was hearing constantly in the silence, even / especially with headphones on but muted, was my central nervous system, specifically my brainstem, which hums at around 80-120 kHz.

Intrigued, the doctor brought in a device that makes noise up to the frequency of mice squeaking and asked me to push a button whenever I heard noise. I kept pushing the button every few seconds and scored nearly perfectly, much to his surprise. I've always heard mice chatter incessantly at pet stores and stuff. They chatter at 25-50 khz and i picked up everything the machine did.

The next consultation, he brought in several dog whistles and I heard them all, ranging from 23-64 kHz, which didn't surprise me, cuz I've always heard them. They hurt in close range.

I've heard bats in caves, I constantly heard DSL on people's phones during the last decade, which drove me nuts, and those operate at 30 kHz.

So yeah, in my case, I hear everything from ~4 Hz to 100 kHZ, electrical hum is a very common distractant for me at night, as I can "hear" a muted TV two rooms down from me when I'm trying to sleep. I have to use battery-powered alarms or the buzz gets to me.

Normal human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, so I'm roughly 70% better on the low side and at least 200% (possibly 500%) on the upside.

Isolation chambers are very strange for me! I can hear ... everything ... I can hear the Earth, insects in the walls, my heart, my blood vessels, my central nervous system, every single swish and gurgle in my stomach. I've done it twice, and it was all pretty unnerving, to be honest. I think that's why I enjoy music playing and other background noise so much.

I have never heard "nothing" or silence, and I have never seen "nothing", either. I constantly see particles in the darkness whizzing about and stuff, even in absolutely dark caves.

I then was told that there's a whole lot of people like me, almost all born in Europe and America and the majority being born after 1975. Every single one of them has an IQ greater than 120. It's called (due to a mistranslation) "Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities" and since 2005 there is SO MUCH MORE about it on the Internet. Now it is commonly called "Highly Sensitive Person", although that seems to have been hijacked by people who just have sensitive emotions (I do, too).

I tend to call my species "homo sensitivus". I think it just fits.