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Let's talk about... how I discovered I had been an ASMR devotee without realising it

I hadn’t a clue for the guts of 30 years.

I FIRST HEARD the term ‘ASMR‘ in January of last year.

asmr hairbrushing

But as it turned out, I had actually been an ASMR devotee my entire life without ever realising.

Stumbling upon videos devoted specifically to ASMR simply put a name to something I regularly sought out in day to day life; a feeling of relaxation brought about by certain sounds which act as triggers.

I’m just going to dive straight in here, and reveal that long before I had ever heard of ASMR, I used watch the unboxing of laptops on YouTube without having the faintest interest in technology.

Yeah I know; I didn’t know what to make of it either.

laptop unboxing Source: Shutterstock

For a while, I furtively hopped between contributors before landing on the mother lode; Mr. Brad Linder.

On and on this man talked about jacks, ethernet cables, and touchpads to someone – that’d be me – who couldn’t have cared less about the latest laptop features, but thoroughly enjoyed the sounds he made while pointing them out.

He’d be tipping the screen and he’d be tapping the keyboard, and all the while he’d be speaking in excessively respectful tones.

Within minutes, a feeling of calm would descend, my head would feel a little lighter, my eyes would droop and I’d be blissfully spaced out, and sure the man himself wouldn’t be even halfway through his monologue on the merits of the touchscreen function – not that I’d have had a notion what he was talking about anyway.

After landing upon one of the thousands of ASMR videos on YouTube last year, I put two and two together, and realised that I was one of those people who experiences autonomous sensory meridian response, and had been doing so since I was a child.

As a toddler, I couldn’t sleep unless my mother placed the hoover beside me and switched it on to its lowest setting. The hum apparently worked wonders, I would visibly relax and I was unable to drop off without it.

So, unlike other children who would signal they were in need of nap-time by making their way to the couch trailing their blankie behind them, I would crawl under the stairs and start tugging at the hoover.

I wish I could say my ASMR devotion was limited to hoovers and laptops, but I’m in too deep now and may as well surge on.

Meetings in banks, university registration offices, or anything admin-related have the ability to relax me to the point where I’m sleeping with my eyes open and the person on the other side of the desk is debating whether or not to call security.

It’s a combination of things; the sound of the computer’s keyboard, the tapping of a pen, the confidential tone of voice that is often used in these exchanges.

Christ, it’s like my catnip.

Now, don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t happen every single time, or believe me, I’d spend most of my days scheduling unnecessary meetings and most of my nights learning about the latest laptop on the market, but they’ve all been known to have the ASMR effect on me.

And after discovering ASMR videos almost two years ago, I quickly learned that there exist different triggers for different people.

In other words, it’s very likely a large number of ASMR devotees would have next to no interest in my beloved Brad, and that’s OK because I have feck-all interest in hearing someone lick a microphone for the best part of an hour.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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