Saturday, December 31, 2011

What's That Noise?

In a survival situation, you need all your senses working efficiently to keep you alive. That is, in fact, the very reason we have those senses. One of those is your sense of hearing. Humans don't have a sense of hearing just so we can enjoy tunes piped through earbuds.

Don't take me wrong, I love to listen to music through a set of earbuds, but there's a time to set those things aside and pay attention to the world around you. Those who walk around with earbuds hanging from their heads, put themselves at a certain level of risk. That's why participants in a triathlon are not allowed to wear earbuds and listen to music during the cycling or running phases, because they can't hear the traffic around them — and under those conditions, that's a survival issue.

In broader terms of survival, we have the sense of hearing so we can avoid becoming some predator's meal, so we can hear the movements of an enemy, so we can hear a shouted warning, so we can be aware of an approaching storm and take cover, so we can hear the sound of water trickling in a stream, so we can track animals for food, etc. — all for our survival.

When you find yourself in any type of emergency situation, that is the time to tune up your audible awareness of what's going on around you. It may save your life.

Listen for anything unusual. Becoming a legendary Kung Fu master who can hear a tiny ant walk into the room might be too much to expect, but on the other hand don’t be so tuned out to what’s going on around you that people can walk up behind you without your knowing.

Likewise, be aware of the unusual buzz or snap or hum that might alert you to an electrical fire. A growl from under the hood might signal low power steering fluid in the reservoir that can disable your vehicle. A strange vibration might turn out to be a rattlesnake near your feet. A change of tone in the conversations in a crowd might give you advance warning of trouble brewing, allowing you to get out before it erupts.

Pay attention to sounds that are out of the ordinary. Check out the source, and take appropriate action.

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