I am that person that cannot fall asleep when there is a leaky faucet or when there is a clock ticking. I can't even sleep when I hear someone else breathing while they are sleeping - it makes me crazy! Sometimes I'll sleep with earplugs, but they make the inside of my ears itch. We have an oscillating fan in our bedroom that acts as white noise for me (for B, he needs it because "(he) gets hot in (his) sleep"). I remember being annoyed by the fan on several occasions when we've set it so it wouldn't oscillate (you just push a button). I get annoyed because even though it isn't rotating anymore, the motor in the fan still makes a sound like it is oscillating. You can hear it change (well, maybe only I can with my superhuman hearing), and I can't take it! I have a special way of dealing with this - aggressively moving the head of the fan around to stop the motor from trying to oscillate (I'm positive it helps). I have it "set" now so that you can't hear the motor...I just have to make sure B doesn't touch it :) (and he doesn't) :)
I really think silence is deafening when I'm working on a paper. When I really need to crank something out in a 4-6 hours, I usually play a movie on my DVD player while working. This can't be just any movie...it has to be a movie that I've seen thousands of times. When I was an undergrad, those movies were "You've Got Mail" or "Step Mom" (heehee). I don't have copies of either of them anymore, so currently it's any one of the following: "The Fugitive" (haha), "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Center Stage", "The Long Kiss Goodnight", or "Baby Boom". Strange variety, I know. But, it's amazing how much work I get through when I have those movies playing. When I'm working at the office, my productivity really spikes when I listen to Justin Timberlake or Ladytron. Two very different genres of music, yet I can work like no other when I'm listening to them. I'm really no different than I was 10-15 years ago...I was always studying and/or doing homework while watching TV or listening to my CD player. Old habits never die, I guess (or do they die hard?).
I do wish I wasn't still so addicted to TV...maybe next year I'll give it up for Lent...we shall see :)