My latest experiment to temper the mysterious vibration that shakes me awake each night came from a random conversation with a stranger. When I told him of my dilemma, he suggested applying a vibration directly to the bed that would effectively neutralize the irritating one. “Place a speaker’s bass subwoofer right against the bed frame and see if you can find a frequency that will counteract the one that bothers you.” He was suggesting a primitive version of an expensive device I’d read about in rather esoteric acoustical sites: a mass-tuned damper. It had a certain logic. WHY NOT TRY IT?
First, I rigged my old Harman Kardon Soundsticks Speaker System so that the big subwoofer was pressed against the wooden bed frame. I placed the speakers themselves outside the closed bedroom door as I didn’t actually want to HEAR the sound, I only wanted the vibration to act on the bed. (Unfortunately, the Soundstick speakers need to be playing music in order for the subwoofer to work.)
Next I hunted for apps that would allow me to play a single frequency. With Tone Generator I could choose from an endless number of frequencies and wave shapes (who KNEW that sound waves have shapes…!!!). I downloaded it to my iPad which would send sound through the speaker system. I had the app at-the-ready when the vibration started early in middle of the night.
Wearing tried-and-true E-A-R Yellow Neon Blasts Earplugs, I tested different tones until I found one that neutralized the disturbing bed vibration and would allow me to sleep.
This method worked but proved a bit cumbersome to implement. Plus there was no getting around hearing, if only faintly, the single 107 hertz tone that neutralized the vibration. Since in theory sound is vibration and acts on the inner ear, I wondered if I could get a similar effect by wearing ear buds and playing the tone right into my ears.
I’d recently invested in a pair of the amazing Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. You flip a little switch and they really cancel a great deal of ambient noise. Using the headphones with Noise Cancelling turned on and no music is likely instantly going into a quiet room…perfect for mediation or relaxing. Listening to music or sounds through them shifts the way we hear.
First I tried the headphones using the Tone Generator frequency I had found. It did indeed work to make me no longer feel the vibration, but the single tone wasn’t very pleasant to sleep to.
A friend did some research and came upon the amazing My Noise website (and app) which offers an array of sounds and beats designed to change brain wave patterns (to cure everything from tinnitus to stress states). I downloaded quite a few in addition to the basic ones that come with the app.
Using colored sliders, you can tailor the sounds or beats to your liking, or chose from a list of alternate options and variations on the beats and sounds.
After much testing, Rain Noise with Distant Thunder listened through the Bose head-phones with noise-cancelling ON somehow distracted and soothed my brain, countering the irritating bed vibration, allowing me to sleep. (Listening to the sound without Noise Cancelling does not have the same effect, however.)
Until I discover where the vibration comes from, OR heal my nervous-system enough to not feel the vibration, this is the system I use to get some sleep when the bed starts vibrating, a huge relief.