Let’s Chat: Do You Read In Silence or With Noise?


I have to read in complete and utter silence.


No background noise.  Zero.

I am able to read on airplanes as long as everyone sitting in any proximity to me just so happens to be quiet.  And by quiet I mean no talking, chewing, humming, etc.  I may or may not have been known to ask those around me to lower the sound on in their earphones (this might be one of the most annoying sounds on the planet, by the way).

I can read while getting my nails done as long as the music in the salon is turned way down and is instrumental.  Someone on their cell phone next to me?  Forget about it!  (Side note…FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP TALKING ON YOUR CELL PHONE AT SALONS! 2 weeks ago while receiving a lovely pedicure, I was forced to listen to the lady next to me on her cell phone ordering her dinner from a Thai restaurant. She asked the person on the other end of the line to describe each dish on the menu before making her final selection.  Not exactly the peaceful salon experience I was hoping for although I did learn a great deal about Thai spices.)

I really hate when salons have televisions playing because I can’t read with them on! I know there are people out there who have the ability to read while a television is on in the background but clearly I am not one of those people.  HOW???

I need 100 percent, complete silence to concentrate on anything.  I wish I could read or concentrate on anything with a bit of noise…I would be able to read on so many more occasions!

I have been like this for my entire life.  I’m an only child and my house was always so blissfully quiet while growing up…I loved quiet then and I continue to love it now.  If you watched my Disney World video, you know that I also need silence to fall asleep! Whenever I had to study for anything, silence was the only way.  When I took my ACT test in high school, I brought cough drops with me even though I wasn’t the least bit sick.  I wanted to be prepared in case anyone around me was sick so I could diffuse the distractions (side note…the guy next to me had the worst cough and was super thankful for my foresight, lol) . When I saw Hamiltion last fall, I offered my water to the lady in the row front of me who couldn’t stop coughing.  WHY do I always seem to be surrounded by unhealthy, annoying people?!?

Both of our local libraries have “Silent Reading Rooms” where you aren’t ALLOWED to talk AND they have fireplaces. So basically it’s my personal version of heaven. I have spent many blissful hours reading in those lovely, silent rooms.  Perfection.

So tell me….how do you read?  Complete silence or with background noise?  If you do read with background noise, how do you tune it out so that you can concentrate???  Please teach me your tricks!  I would SO love to be able to do that!

Until then, I’ll be the one glaring at you on the airplane as you loudly pop your gum…



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18 thoughts on “Let’s Chat: Do You Read In Silence or With Noise?

  1. Apparently, your environment while growing up influences the environment you require as you mature. I HATE the noise of sports on TV. As a child, growing up in an apartment with one TV (black and white, of course), and sharing a bedroom with a sibling, privacy and quiet didn’t exist! I used reading as my way of blocking out noise, especially sports on TV. Reading has always been my escape from noise I don’t like or want so I can read and sleep under most noisy conditions. If I couldn’t, I would be truly miserable!


  2. It honestly depends on the day and what I’m reading! If I’m super engrossed in it I could read it anywhere. I used to get in trouble in Middle School for reading books when the teacher was lecturing! If I’m studying something boring, or I’m not enjoying the book every little thing distracts me though, I think I like to have an excuse to stop reading.


  3. I cant read or write with a nosey background. I cant read when someone is having a conversation near me. I cant concentrate when someone is constantly clearing their throat. I can tolerate ambient sounds but they cant be too loud. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! I thought I was just a jerk who hated being interrupted by people’s incessant snorting at the library! 🤣🤣🤣


  4. I tend to read on public transport, in the park, at a cafe etc. so I am used to tuning out the rest of the world and focusing on reading. I don’t really know how I do it, I guess it’s just habit!


    1. I used to take the subway when I worked and I had a 35 minute commute each way. I tuned out everything and everyone and I had to stop reading a few stops before I got off since I didn’t want to miss my stop.


  5. I have no problem reading with the TV on, or with people talking around me, but I can’t have music on. Zero focus when there’s music, and I end up putting my book down.

    I’ve really had to learn to block things out. Back when my son was little, I was doing a class-by-video (before everything went digital!), and I’d sit on the floor and watch the video and take notes, while he would be climbing on my back and shoulders, laughing the whole time (still got an A in the class, tyvm). I had to learn to block out the sound of his constant chattering, and the kids yelling at the park where he’d play and I’d read, and now the same goes for my daughter, but double, because my husband is constantly yelling and laughing and running/stomping on the floor directly in front of me while they play. I’m so glad my brain allowed me to be able to do this (I realize that it may not be possible for everyone, because brains work in different ways- I know people who love listening to music when they read!), because otherwise, I would never, ever get any reading done otherwise.

    Excellent post! 🙂


  6. I can read with any amount of noise. But can’t read in silence. Reading in silence makes me feel sleepy and therefore only ever do that if I can’t get to sleep😂.


  7. I’m the youngest of 4, my mom naturally talks loudly and my dad…well, I love him, but he’s a yeller. I’m used to noise. Even after all my siblings left home and it was just me, I still needed the noise to focus. I’ve always had the TV on in the back ground while reading, doing homework, having conversations, playing on the computer, whatever. Complete silence makes me uncomfortable unless I’m trying to sleep – but even then, we have a fan on for the noise. I used to fall asleep with the TV on too, but Geoff vetoed that when we moved in together and now we do not even have a TV in the bedroom.


  8. I can read anywhere, anytime, unless it’s a book that fails to catch my interest. It seems I’m drawn into the story and the world around me fades away. I’m not sure how it happens. Probably relaxed intense focus; and practice. Now that I think about it though…it doesn’t happen for me if I am feeling unsafe or stressed over something. Thankfully, those times are few. I think I’ve learned to let go of annoyances and that’s helped with relaxed focusing. For me the key to letting go has been learning to tune out. Distractions that find me suddenly recognizing I’ve forgotten all about what ever it was that had me upset. A good book has been a distraction many times 🙂 Let a good book become louder than the noise in the room. I’d be interested to hear if that works, with practice.


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