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Whosinabunker
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09 Jul 2011, 1:53 am

What I mean is, have you ever been listening to music or something during a conversation on the phone or even in person, and you have to constantly turn it down to even comprehend the fact people are talking to you? I have to constantly pause my music and say "What?" alot, I don't even have my music too loud most of the time, just sounds in general make it difficult for me to concentrate on what others are saying. Anyone else have this issue?



Callista
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09 Jul 2011, 1:59 am

Yes, it's quite common for it to be harder to listen to things with background noise. Conversations with more than one person get tricky for me. Conversations in a crowded room, even more tricky. The worst sort of background noise is that with speech in it, because it's hard to figure out which speechlike noises I'm supposed to be listening to and interpreting.

I read about this experiment in which they put headphones on the heads of some (NT) volunteers, and played one message in one ear and another message in another, and asked them to concentrate on the message in one ear and block out the other. They were successful at doing it--their comprehension was great for the target message, practically nil for the non-target message. The experimenters were even able to switch which ear the message was played into during the experiment, and the volunteers shifted their attention to the other ear to continue listening--without even noticing they'd done it. It's really pretty incredible that they can do that. I think I'd just zone out and not be able to recall either message, if I tried it.

Not to say that NTs are perfect at filtering signals out of noise. Their comprehension goes down in a crowded room or noisy environment, too. It's just a stronger effect if you happen to be autistic or have auditory processing disorder.


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the_curmudge
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09 Jul 2011, 2:30 pm

Yes, I've always had this problem and assumed that, as there is deafness in the family, I was a little hard of hearing. Recently I was tested and I learned my hearing is perfectly normal. My ears are fine, I'm not hearing with my brain.

I used to ask,"What?" a lot, but outside of work I've decided that if people want to talk over other sounds, they deserve not to be heard.



Dae
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09 Jul 2011, 3:41 pm

I experience this...am not able (usually) to focus on a friend's verbal conversation or study a book (mostly, in an unwanted subject), say, in a fast food restaurant (though I'm able to read WP postings at a decent level of comprehension). I've been getting aggravated at my room-mate lately, because, though I've told her several times, I 'can't' hear her verbalizations when I'm running water to wash dishes, she'll still insist on talking to me (it justs makes no difference to her what I may be 'busy' with). And, I can concentrate on NOTHING else when a television's on - even at low volume (since I can still hear it...can even hear some of the televisions when they're on MUTE!). I've ruled out loss of concentrative ability due only to spoken word since I've realized one of my biggest distractions is actually movement-based...I can hardly tolerate ('many') people arriving/leaving to/from a room sporadically and do much better with mass entries/exodus (still tense with even these entries/exits, but feel relief that it'll 'be over soon').


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