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> . After following this thread for a few days, I have to wonder
> . if I'm alone in NOT preferring to work in silence.
You are not alone. Though I am sometimes affected (lose my train of thought) by idle chat nearby (especially by TV noise when working at home), I cannot stand a quiet environment. Often, as with my current job, the silence is so overwhelming that I lose my energy level and find it hard to stay on task. I find myself yawning and needing to walk in order to fight off the "sleepies."
Ideally, I try to keep my headphones close by. At home and at work I prefer to have music playing. Most often it is "soundscape" type music or Mannheim Steamroller-type music -- energetic and fast-beat music with little or no vocals to tempt me into singing along. Still, I think my co-cube workers might sometimes be interrupted by my sudden "drumming" on my desk or 30 seconds of whistling a particularly upbeat and catchy tune. Oh well, I know they have headphones in their drawer too!