These are some of the things that I have difficulties with. If you know me offline, this might be relevant to your interactions with me, I guess.
Reblogging this, with my own commentary interspersed, because your auditory processing issues seemincrediblysimilar to mine.
- Distinguishing sounds- I have trouble distinguishing rhyming words, even when they’re spoken in isolation. Bat, hat, that…I have trouble hearing the difference. So when listening to people, I end up hearing something like this “What xxxx you xxxx tonight? I wanted xxxx with xxxx so we’re xxxx downtown.” I have to try and fill in the blanks. Sometimes I’m able to. Often I’m not - when that happens, sometimes I ask for repetition, but sometimes I try to just get it from context, which can cause confusion.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but I have this issue to some extent as well. For me, it’s especially bad with /s/ vs. /f/ vs. /θ/ (sail, fail, *thail) and with /h/ vs. /p/ (hop, pop) at the start of words. Lip-reading helpsa lotwith this for me.
- Remembering things told to me orally- it’s reeeeally hard. I have to focus intensely to remember stuff people say to me. And anything longer than a single sentence is basically hell to remember.
I totally have this problem. And of course, people always think that I’m exaggerating when I say I need to write things down when I’m being given oral instructions. No, I knowfrom experiencethat I need to write them down!
- Actually processing what was said to me - one thing I do a lot is saying “what?” right after someone says something to me, and then immediately following it up with a response. My mom hates it, says I shouldn’t say “what” if I actually know what was said. The problem is that when Idohear things, it takes me a little longer to actually understand what they mean and how I’m supposed to respond.
Yep, I know this as well. I’ve actually had a few times where someone said something to me and it took several seconds before it finally dawned on me what those noises actually meant. And in the meantime, I’m just staring blankly while the little cogs turn around in my mind trying to make sense of it…to say nothing of formulating a response that actually makes sense once I do decipher what was said…
- Understanding anything with background noise- my sensory gating abilities (aka the cocktail party effect) are almost nonexistent. Because of bullet point #1, I have trouble understanding speech normally, but when you addanybackground noise, it becomes almost impossible. It doesn’t even have to be loud. Talking while music is playing, for instance. Doesn’t work, and I feel rude asking people to turn off the music (if that’s even an option). If we’re in a loud environment, you should probably just assume I can’t understand you at all and would be better off switching to ASL or writing.
SO MUCH THIS. I seriously do not understand how people can socialize at all in most environments that supposedly are designed for socializing. This was pretty much my downfall at a conference I went to last month; I loved all the academic presentations and stuff like that, but I couldn’t stay in the poster rooms for too long at a time because so many people were all talking at once, and the social events, held at places with pop music blasting loudly and hundreds of people all talking at once on top of it, were absolutelyhellish.
This is also a large part of why I watch TV and movies with subtitles. Actors have a tendency to mumble these days, but the sound mixing folks don’t help by making the background music and ambient noise as loud as the actors!
- Noticing when people are talking to me- for some reason, I have a hard time with this. I think it’s partly also because basically no one actually talked to me in elementary and middle school so I’m not used to the idea of people approaching me. But yeah, it’s tough to tell when I’m being addressed, plus when someone speaks to me and I’m not expecting it, it’s almost guaranteed that I didn’t understand what they were saying.
This has happened to me several times as well. But from two different directions.
I’ve also experienced the thing where I didn’t notice that someone was trying to get my attention. A lot of times, it’s just that I thought the person was addressing someone else near me, and they only made it clear when I didn’t respond. But on more than a few occasions, it was a situation where they were very clearly addressing me, not someone vaguely near me, and my brain just didn’t manage to decipher the speech— it’s like my brain was in some sort of non-speech processing cycle until kicked into gear.
But then, I’ve also had the opposite situation— thinking that someonewastalking to me when they actually weren’t. The one scenario where I remember experiencing this sort of thing a lot was in gym class; suffice it to say, “Coach” and “Cody” soundverysimilar when you’ve got screwy auditory processing.
- Phones? I never associated my problems using phones to my auditory processing deficit before but now I wonder if that’s part of it. Anyway, I have extreme difficulties having phone calls with anyone I am not extremely close with. It causes me seriously debilitating anxiety.
Yep, same here. I can manage it to some extent with people whose speech patterns I’m familiar with (though it’s still far more exhausting than talking in person because of the lack of coping strategies), but I havelotsof misunderstandings and just general incomprehension whenever I have to call a stranger.
This is partly because there’s no visual feedback. A lot of the time, I fall back on things like lip reading when I’m dealing with an unfamiliar speaker. But of course, I can’t do that on an audio-only medium!
But that’s not the whole story either, as I’ve done OK with unfamiliar speakers in things like radio interviews. The bigger problem, for me, is the horrifically low frequency cutoff on phone lines. Remember all those consonants that I mentioned having trouble distinguishing? Much of the frequency range that distinguishes them is entirely beyond the high-pass filter applied to sounds coming over the phone. Even people with normal auditory processing have great difficulty telling over the phone whether someone is “sailing” or “failing”. (There’s actual published research on this!) And that’s assuming a good mic on the other person’s end; sometimes I’ve had to talk to people on the phone whose speech sounded like a cross between mumbling and Charlie Brown’s teacher from the Peanuts specials, because their phone’s microphone was so poor.