Writers and people with CFS (PWCs) have two things in common: they often need to control their environment – just to be able to think and work. Since I am both, I need it double.
I’m so noise sensitive that I can’t view the internet for very long – because the excessive number of moving bits on pages makes the graphics card in the Macbook come on – which leads to the Macbook turning on the fans – which leads to me staring at the wall, while the neuron assigned to thinking (I have two functional neurons – the other is reserved for breathing) takes on the task of blocking out the noise instead (we call this brain fog – you may have similar choice words for it).
So, for this and other purposes I shall identify later in the post, I have created for myself the Portable Sensory Deprivation System (PSDS) for Writers and People with CFS (PWCs).
It is adjustable: there is the version which blocks both most sound input AND all visual input – the TOTAL version; and the version which only blocks sound input – the NOISE version (so I can see to type).
As you might expect, the versions switch easily from one to the other. No need to disassemble. The well-cushioned Visual Input Blocker (eye mask) on the TOTAL version can be placed behind or above the head.
The basis for the Portable Sensory Deprivation Tank consists of the Industrial-Strength Noise Protector (my component is labeled AO Safety SELECT, and PELTOR – I probably bought it through Amazon), with an eye mask purchased from REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated?) in Seattle, WA. The eye mask has a long slim pillow on the bottom side, with a cutout for the nose, which blocks light coming in from below. Mine also has a little pocket for storing ear plugs.
They can be used in all safe circumstances with little damage to the wearer. Except for one caveat: do NOT wear the version which blocks visual input if YOU are the DRIVER (not worth it, really, although the temptation may be exceedingly high).
The TOTAL version is comfortable enough for me to use in bed: the neighbor (a good man otherwise), with the industrial-model gas-operated leaf blower, can be almost complete blocked out of the sound input channel – so I can actually get a restful nap. He does, eventually, get tired and go inside. By then I usually do not care – and am safely either rested or asleep.
The NOISE version has an additional feature which can remove the last niggly bits of sound that get through the Sound Barrier: it is composed of two ear plugs (preferably installed one per ear, but this is up to the user). Without the additional feature, the exterior sound removal is not complete (brings sound levels down about two decibels (est.)). WITH the feature, the sound is brought down three decibels (powers of ten), with only one source of noise left – the sound of my own heart beating slowly and surely. As this final sound is a throwback to the womb and total comfort and safety, the sound is not usually objectionable.
User’s choice: two decibels worth of noise removal – but you can still hear the gas blower; or three decibels (all measurements are estimates), but the heart sounds are now loud enough to be heard.
It is also possible to use only the eye mask, only the earplugs, and the Industrial-Strength Noise Protectors alone – or in other combinations, but total blockage will not be obtained. These are suitable for many situations (excluding the neighbor’s leaf blower).
I have used my little system to block out the noise in rest stops on major Interstate Highways – even the ones with the big tractor-trailer trucks which leave their motors on all night because they want to (it keeps them warm) or because they are carrying refrigerator containers with perishables. I understand these are forbidden to keep their engines on all night in some places now, but enforcement varies – and new semis are coming in and out of the parking lots all the time.
And has anybody noticed how noisy PEOPLE are? Picture me zonked out flat in the back of the minvan – darkened glass – I can’t hear or see all my noisy fellow travelers and their children and dogs. I’m enjoying a restorative rest so I can drive the next segment safely.
Has anyone noticed how noisy HOTELS are? In the last one, the whole floor reverberated when someone ran on the treadmill in the gym. Reach for PSDS – no more problems. Want to sleep while the staff is vacuuming the room next to yours? You got it – no problem.
Total cost for the PSDS components? Less than $50-$100 – depending on the Industrial Ear Protection you start your System with. Get the very best – YOU’RE WORTH IT.