3) ... I just point the fan at the ceiling, which ensures that the direct airflow doesn't cause chill in the morn.
I will try that one day. Thanks.
4) Unnecessarily loud noise from things like appliances, cars, and machinery still drives me nuts -- partly because I know it doesn't have to be this way; I think I can see how easily the things could be made so much quieter, without necessarily being more expensive. (Whether I'm right/wrong on this matter is a whole nuther matter.)
Vehicle quietness, or NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), is high in the priority of my requirements when looking for a car. Most people don't notice how poor the NVH in their cars are, and even if they do, they probably don't care all that much as long as their car starts in the morning and gets them from A to B. Unfortunately, most cars for average folk have poor NVH, especially in the smaller car size market. A larger family size sedan (saloon), the Toyota Camry/Avalon/etc, while a boring staple, has a good reputation for being one of the quietest consumer cars ever produced. And as someone who has travelled in them, I can attest that they are very quiet to travel in, even under hard acceleration on freeways (as long as they are in good condition, have been serviced and sitting on good tyres). Lexus (luxury Toyota rebranded) also has a good reputation for automotive quietness. For the lower consumer market, things could be much better. But quality has improved, particulary from the far East, and NVH is something that car makers at least try to address more these days.
5) I find it difficult to be in cities like Taipei, Bangkok, Hanoi (to mention a few I've been in recently) for short periods. After more than a week, I usually settle down, but often, after the initial excitement of the first couple, I found the constant noise exhausting...
You should consider leaving the city smoke and move out to outer surbubia, urban fringes, quasi country or the real countryside itself. As a city person, I absolutely hate it for various reasons. I will consider moving outwards someday. But the time is not yet.
Some things from my experiences:
When travelling on trains, and they make that screeching, grinding sound against the tracks, I have to cover my ears. No one else that I can see seems to do likewise. I once enquired of my G.P. about this, why the noise affects me so much and apparently not with others around me. I thought possibly there was something wrong with my ears. He said there was nothing perceivably wrong with my ears and that I had good hearing. I still somehow get concerned about my ears though.
When I do the vacuuming, I wear a pair of earmuffs/earplugs. It might to others look extreme for this household chore, but to me, it's a form of protection of my ears, not to mention an insulation from the noise. When I used to work in a large retail store filling stock in the morning, I found the noise from the industrial strength vacuum cleaners and floor polishers from the cleaning company overwhelmingly loud and irritating. I had to buy a pair of earplugs to get through these mornings. Everybody else seemed to get by without so much as a complaint.
There are perhaps lots of other nuggets of personal experience I and others could share here. Many of them common and identifiable among people who frequent SPCR.
I do not consider myself an extreme silencer or an OC with regards to noise. (I am possibly OC with regards to other aspects of life, though I don't like to think of my behaviours as OC. But that's another story.) I think somehow consciously or sub-consciously (or a combination of both), the level of one's tolerance to noise may be influenced not only by genuine sensitivity but by other factors, such as: a). finances (to be able to make improvements to existing and future setups and sustain such), b). time and effort (to research, purchase, build and maintain setups), c). fellow citizens (not wanting sensitivity to noise to offend others; fear of embarrassment because of this; not knowing how to explain such or could not be bothered to do so; not wanting to be a pain because of it), d). pressure and time constraints (for e.g. places of work or study where computers are not designed for quietness and one must use them anyway to complete tasks, therefore noise is more heavily tolerated though not appreciated, and one becomes used to the environmental conditions and the fact of having to work in them) and possibly several other factors too much to go into at this time.
To answer Mike's question, "Does SPCR seem way too obsessive compulsive about noise?"
, I would say yes
. To the outsider, definitely yes. To the one time or occasional visitors seeking a solution for a problem, I think they do appreciate that this community, namely SPCR exists -- because there is nothing else of its nature and scope on the internet or perhaps any other media for that matter. These groups of people generally don't care about one's extremities to silence as long as they get some help with their immediate problems. They may never come back again. To frequent visitors and those who choose to stay longer and contribute, some measures may still seem somewhat obsessive and extreme, yet over time, they will know where on the spectrum they reside and learn to take what is relevant to their needs and ignore what may to be too extreme or unnecessary for them. I think the majority of SPCR forum members fit into this category. Then there are the extreme silencers, the veterans and die-hards who see this as a life's journey, a cause of common humanity, a definition of life and a reason to continue. To them, it isn't an issue of OC or being extreme. It is just what is. I think this last group tend to make up a minority of the whole. They often make up for their lack of overwhelming numbers by their vocalness, expertise, intolerance of newbies and repeated topics, and last but not leastly their often monotonous, depressing off topic discussions and nitpicking of grammar and data in MikeC and Co's articles.