Can You 'Hear' Silence?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Mammoth, Jan 5, 2007.

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Do you hear silence?

  1. Yes, it's fun!

    36 vote(s)
    67.9%
  2. No, it must suck.

    2 vote(s)
    3.8%
  3. What the......?

    10 vote(s)
    18.9%
  4. My life is too loud to hear it.

    5 vote(s)
    9.4%
  1. Mammoth macrumors 6502a

    Mammoth

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    I can hear silence, I hear it when I'm in a completely silent spot (My friends car when it's turned off for example) and I start hearing a high-but-not-high-pitched frequency. After a minute or so it starts to ring as well. But the trick to hearing it is to focus on the silence. So do you hear it?
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    By definition, I can't hear silence. However, I do know what you mean. It's more obvious if I've just been listening to loud music. ;)
     
  3. Patmian212 macrumors 68020

    Patmian212

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    I hear exactly what you described, but I dont know if its silence:p
     
  4. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    #4
    Yup.. it's deafening sometimes, but other times, it's so nice.
     
  5. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #5
    I've always thought I could hear silence. Sometimes it bugs me - I need something making noise in order to sleep (just a slight noise - like a computer running).
     
  6. macOSX-tastic macrumors 6502a

    macOSX-tastic

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    At the Airport. UK
    #6
    i know this sound.....i experienced it a few seconds after i switched off the TV. very high pitched, and if you focus on it, it actually becomes annoying! i always thought it was just the general hum of all the electronic whizz-bang around me. however, i dont know for sure.

    i know that a CRT tv makes a high pitched noise (albeit quiet) when on, which my parents and other older members of my family do not notice.....something regarding this phoenomenon maybe? just throwing it out there...

    S
     
  7. Mammoth thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mammoth

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    If you really want the full blast of it, sit in your car (somewhere quiet like a garage) for a few minutes. (Just like I did in my friends car)
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    I have this experience also....

    It started after the aliens returned me to Earth! Being preggers sure is interesting!
     
  9. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Right back where I started...
    #9
    Yes - I do not know if I would descibe it as silence as you are hearing something. Perhaps it is perceived as silence - or maybe it is our ears correcting themselves after loud sounds.

    The real question needs to be do you hear on a different frequency or hear between the words...
     
  10. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    #10
    Then thats not silence, imo.

    If someone asked me on a game show what silence is, I would answer:

    The lack of sound.

    So if you hear anything then its not silence.
     
  11. Hummer macrumors 65816

    Hummer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Location:
    Queens, New York NY-5
    #12
    I hear it too. Ever since I was a little kid. I just ignore it though.
     
  12. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #13
    Beat me to it :D

    I have it occasionally - its from using chain saws back in the 80s without ear protection mostly, I imagine. And sometimes it gets worse for a day or so if I've been listening to really loud music.

    Now I wear ear protection no matter what power tool I use.

    D
     
  13. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #14

    ha, yeah, i hear that sound. i have been told by doctors (MD) and Ph.D. (professors) that the sound comes from your ears loosing hearing of a certain frequency. for example, you hear a gun shot, then loud ringing after. if you hear gunshots often (unprotected) then you will eventually 'not' be able to hear the gunshot. this is because you will essentially destroy that part of your ear drum that perceives those frequencies. in the process of destruction, you will hear a ringing sound. i hear this sound because i often listen to my music too loud!

    anyway, just curious, but can you see darkness?
     
  14. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    #15
  15. phungy macrumors 68020

    phungy

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    Dec 5, 2006
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    FL/NY/TX
  16. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Meat Space
    #17
    I'm a music professor and there's a famous story about an infamous American composer, John Cage. He's the one that "wrote" the piece 4'33" (the piece where a pianist comes out on stage, sits down, positions their hands just above the keyboard, and holds them there for 4'33". The "music" is the audience's reaction). Back in the 1960s Cage wanted to know if there was such a thing as complete silence. He went to AT&T's sound lab, which had the best sound room at the time. He discovered that even when there was nothing audible, his ears picked up the sounds of his central nervous system. So the answer to this question is no, there is no such thing as silence.
     
  17. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
  18. SamIchi macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #19
    Word... interesting.

    Everyone has experienced it. I think about it when I'm sittin' on the can :D
     
  19. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    #20
    if it was nothing, why would it have a name. like, why does nothing have a name?
     
  20. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
  21. MrSmith macrumors 68040

    MrSmith

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    #22
    Surely...'sound' doesn't exist until air waves strike our ear mechanism and our brain interprets them into 'sound'. Therefore 'silence' would mean the lack of airwaves hitting our ear, which wouldn't happen unless you were in a complete vacuum (and, vis-a-vis above post, there was no physical medium between said ear mechanism and the rest of our cardio-vascular system). The physicists can take it from there.
     
  22. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    #23
    Simon and Garfunkel went deaf, it was so loud.
     
  23. Phazotron Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    yes and no

    Technically, I don't think you can hear silence. Your ears will always pick up something, even if it is your own heartbeat or breathing.

    However, the near perfect silence of a frigid winter day is wonderful.

    When there isn't any wind, no leaves on trees to rustle, no animals or birds moving around, it seems so quiet you'd swear you could hear the snow falling. Growing up in a rural area has its benefits. :)

    As for the ringing sensation - stop listening to music so loud, and protect your ears when doing something loud like operating machinery ;)
     
  24. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    1123.6536.5321
    #25
    What if you put a tape recorder in the vacuum of space? :p ;) :cool:
     

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