Throughout my life I have had a fear of sitting in silence, forcing me to need noise in order to be productive. Whenever I find myself in silence I begin to conjure up moments in my life that caused a lot of frustration, fear, and  anxiety, making me question why this is so? Why is it that I would I rather hear the static of a radio than nothing other than my own thoughts?

In reading “Our Fear of Silence” an article that was written by a meditation instructor I found that my fear may be attributed to the fact that in modern time we have the option to have intentional noise, which are things we turn on to produce noise, such as iPods, TVs, etc. 

In a study done by the University of New England, it was found that the lack of noise or the need for background noise is a “learned behavior.” The students in the study were all found to have grown up with background noise from T.V. and other electronics. Therefore causing them to associate background noise with the comfort of home when their parents would leave the T.V. on when they were kids. 

Along with those students, I myself grew up with background noise and now choose to have intentional noise as comfort, instead of the unknown of silence.



CC BY-SA 4.0 Unknown Silence by Giselle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Sarah 3 years ago

    I thought this was a really interesting article. It’s interesting how the behavior of disliking silence stems from an unconscious, learned, childhood behavior. I don’t think people quite realize just how much their childhood and upbringing affects their subconscious and therefore, their response to certain things. This kind of reminds me of how whenever there’s a silence, people will say “awkward silence” even if the situation isn’t necessarily awkward. I agree with the conclusion that this is because we grow up with associating sound to comfort.

  2. Vanessa 3 years ago

    Giselle, your article was very thoughtful. I also read an article named The Power of Silence. It talks about how as a society we have lost touch with our inner-selves because we are constantine filing that void of silence with music, television, and other man-made noises. The article was similar with the article that you read.

    You should check out the article, it’s great.

  3. Sharlee 3 years ago

    Interesting article, Giselle!

    Did you know that the need for noise is actually a phenomenon (as far as I’ve travelled) in America? In places such as Japan and Germany, people on public transit, elevators, or busy trains are all fine with silence. It’s interesting to see how learned behavior affects small quirks of a massive population’s personality when silence is a comfortable part of their life and not in yours and mine.

    As a last note, silence sells. People actually pay for meditation and noise cancelling headphones. There’s an interesting blog post that talks more about this!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: