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How Can I Stop That Beeping?
Where's That Noise Coming From?
Technology is invaluable but because of it the home is not the quiet place it once was and stress levels can be high especially with the vast variety of modern day appliances we all take for granted. These items may be practical and save a great deal of time but everything has a downside.
Is the Thing On or Off?
I was born at a time when the modus operandi of electrical household items was much simpler than it is today. You would have a single switch saying ON/OFF and you knew exactly where you were with the thing. There would usually be a red light to show when it was in use and that was it really. Nothing would be an assault on your hearing or make any weird beeping noises around the house to increase your stress levels.
It suited me fine until standby mode was introduced on many everyday appliances along with an assortment of knobs to twiddle and buttons to push that make various beeping sounds at inappropriate times of the day and night for no particular reason, ranging from the mildly annoying to the downright infuriating. I’m a very safety conscious soul and when I go to bed, I like to think that things are shut down and completely silent rather than just ‘hibernating,’ with their little beady ‘eyes’ glaring at me from every conceivable corner of the house.
There are several items currently in my home that only my teenagers know how to operate. I don’t have the patience to figure out the eccentricities of an appliance that refuses to tell me if it is on or off; all that technology is wasted on me. I have no desire for one of those newfangled showers - sorry ‘steam cabinets’ that have more switches and settings than the flight deck of a space shuttle. I just want wet water at a bearable temperature and a simple on/off switch so I’m not fumbling around looking for anything other than a towel or a bar of soap.
Some would call me old-fashioned but it’s a known fact that the more moving parts an appliance has and the more complicated it is, the higher the possibility that it will go wrong (my plumber will verify this). I thus make every effort to avoid purchasing any major item that has too many cycles and ‘labour saving’ features. As soon as the printed circuit board goes wrong it can cost more to replace than the item is worth so the whole thing is as good as scrap. Who in their right mind would pay £120 for a call out fee just to assess repairs needed when the whole product could be replaced for £200? But this was exactly what one leading manufacturer expected of me recently when the timer went wrong on a built-in oven.
Sudden unexplained noise can be negative and can even have an adverse effect on blood pressure. Sensitive folk jolted from sleep are often startled and severely stressed by intruder alarms even if the sound isn’t that loud or is located in an adjacent property. People have been known to suffer panic attacks and palpitations that have been noise induced. In the case of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector you wouldn’t object to being awoken with a jolt but anything else can be at very least a nuisance. A combination of sudden noises or just a constant humming or buzzing that won’t stop can upset certain people who are said to ’feel’ noises before they hear them. How many times have you had a house alarm go off and can’t remember the number sequence to stop it? You can’t think straight with the alarm blaring and it can be exasperating to say the least.
I recall the first time the battery needed replacing in a smoke alarm; I actually called the telephone company to report a fault with the line. The thing with beeping sounds is that you can never quite determine their source and with so many appliances that could be the culprit you can waste a good deal of time and patience tracking down these unexplained beeps. It certainly qualifies as noise pollution and can be detrimental to those who value their peace and quiet.
Have you noticed that things always start beeping just when you're about to do something else? You go to empty the rubbish and the phone rings. You just get in the shower and there’s a text on your mobile - you never seem to have a quiet moment. Don’t get me wrong; technology is a great thing but it’s literally alarming when you think of all the things beeping that we surround ourselves with nowadays both in the home and the workplace that have ultimate control our lives.
Whereas a few decades ago you would have an uncomplicated alarm clock by your bedside, we now have an array of repetitive beeps and ring tones to awaken us on our mobile phones. With several people in the house, the dawn chorus easily rivals the Royal Philharmonic tuning up. Then there’s the microwave, the burglar alarm, the smoke alarm, the doorbell, not to mention noisy designer watches that might look cool and even work to a depth of thirty feet underwater but can never give you more than twenty four hours in a day to deal with the other beeping items you have to contend with on a regular basis. The list is endless and I’ll draw the line at a rain alarm to rescue my washing from the inclement British weather – the garden is the only place I get any peace.
© 2015 Stella Kaye