I am constantly surrounded by noise and most of the time I like it that way.
In college I couldn't study if someone else was making any noise, I needed absolute silence, or I needed to be in control of the noise. So I purchased noise canceling headphones and made a bunch of different classical musical stations on Pandora (my favorite is Trans-Siberian Orchestra).
I don't know if it is my awful need to be in control, or if I actually do better with background noise, I am going to pick the second.
I drive to work with podcast or the radio on, while at work I listen podcast, I drive home with podcast or music, and then I run with music (or Netflix!), watch tv/Netflix when I am home, and even fall asleep to Netflix.
I like it, it keeps me focused, if I have complete silence my mind wanders. If I have background noise it is sort of like that does my wandering for me, while I can concentrate on the task infront of me.
And listening to podcast while driving calms me, and keeps me from driving into the medium. If you have ever driven on the 405 you know my feelings are justified and normal, no where even close to suicidal.
However, while making dinner over the weekend I didnt turn a thing on, and it was so nice. My ipad was upstairs charging, my phone was who knows, and I just spaced on turning the tv on. It took me a bit to notice, but once I did it was wonderful. It was like my brain was getting a much needed break and a chance to just breath.
On Monday night I tried to just have classical music, which was almost just as nice.
I was able to do a basically mindless activity (spaghetti squash doenst require much thinking!) and didnt have my TV, Netflix, or podcast talking in my ear.
One of my New Years Resolutions was to work on my stress level, so I hope that I am able to carve out time to appreciate the silence. Maybe I will take up knitting. Ooh, or sewing!
*and for the record, I do read, I read a lot, but even then that is too much stimulation. I get extremely involved in the book.