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Does Fan Noise Matter to You? ('Highly Sensitive’ HSP brain wiring)

This note is apropos the need to externalize all devices on the 2013 Mac Pro, which entails a lot of new noise issues, e.g., fan noise of external drive enclosures and PCIe card enclosures.

What ends up being my favored choice for a drive enclosure will necessarily be driven in part by whether the auditory characteristics are acceptable to me (I have no nearby closet or other space to run a long Thunderbolt cable into).

Who cares about fan noise?

It took me decades to understand that my sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as fan noise was heightened relative to most people: things that bothered me seemed to not even be noticed by people I worked with.

I share this here because for a minority of the population like me, it can be baffling until understood, and even when understood, it can be a frustrating barrier to communication (a very different perceptual basis: to use an analogy, how would you explain red and green to a person partially r/g colorblind?). That is what took me so long to figure out.

Over a period of years I gradually came to understand that an innate difference existed, but I never understood it explicitly until I came across the epistemological explanation: I am a highly sensitive personality or HSP), and I know one of my daughters is—anyone who has multiple children knows how different they can be right from day one (well, I suppose they could all be very similar by chance).

The personality difference creates barriers to communication; people of normal sensitivity seem completely baffled by what seems an unreasonable emphasis (by me) on things like fan noise (though it is but one example).

A personal note especially for parents and teachers...

My lifetime of experience tells me that non-HSP people have seriously difficulty understanding the difference, let alone empathizing with it; the superficial and erroneous characterization is typically “shyness”. Both my daughter and I have been characterized that way by teachers over the years, which reveals a serious gap in their professional training that impairs their effectiveness, or worse. After all, teaching is first and foremost about appropriate communication. But neither of us is shy or insecure—far from it. How many HSP children are labeled this way and so acquire the label and are stunted by it by its repetition in assembly-line schools? I don’t know, but the very idea is troubling. I never was shy, but was labeled as such for years. It wasn’t until high school that the school counselor took note. Finally, the personality tests I took revealed a clear picture in sharp contrast to the prior 9 years of misunderstanding.

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