As I was thinking about this post for the all important "Q" day, I realized that quiet and silence are not the same thing. Silence can be good, and silence can be golden as the saying goes, but silence is not what brings me joy.
I much prefer quiet, which I generally define as the opposite of loud. I enjoy ambient sounds and can tolerate almost anything--music, traffic, conversation--as long as it is quiet. Once the volume ramps up, so does my stress level. Even my favorite music will set my nerves on edge if it is too loud. The same goes for loud-talkers.
At an outdoor concert a couple of years ago, which was much louder than I anticipated, I despaired when I realized that I had left my earplugs in the car. I was forced to improvise with little wads of chewed gum wrapped in Kleenex. It sounds disgusting, I know, and I'm not proud of it. But my desperate ingenuity saved my sanity and most likely my hearing. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.
I come by this naturally, as I was a very quiet child who was easily overstimulated. I think every single report card from elementary school identified me as being "too quiet," and it didn't get much better in the upper grades. A few years ago, I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (2012), and I recommend it. In fact, I think I should read it again, because the world is just getting louder.
Of course, being too much of a "low talker" has its drawbacks, as well!