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Can you hear me now? Auditory processing


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A few months ago I saw an audiologist for a hearing exam, because I explained to my GP that I was having trouble hearing things when there's background noise. I will often not notice at all when someone is speaking directly to me, or I will "blank out" on a conversation and miss huge chunks of what was being said to me. I thought I might just be going deaf, so I had my ears cleaned out by an ENT and went in for the hearing exam. 

 

I did well on the hearing test, and the audiologist explained to me that there's nothing wrong with my ears, but instead I have an auditory processing "issue" that, he claimed, is likely secondary to my bipolar disorder. Apparently being bipolar predisposes me to having sensory integration issues, where my brain can't make sense of what's being said, especially in situations where there's a lot of other noise happening. I've done a little research on this, and it appears that auditory processing problems are especially common in schizophrenia, bipolar, and sometimes severe unipolar depression. 

 

Have you experienced issues with auditory processing? How do you deal with it?

 

This page has a couple of tips, but I'm not sure how effective they are.

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I have no doubt have a mild audio processing disorder accompanying my ADHD. I really became aware of it when I worked at the front desk of an old hotel with marble lobby walls. With the echoing I had real difficulty understanding what people were saying. One of those details I could not have known about the job until I started working there.

 

I have passed on having testing done. As noted my processing issues are mild and the testing is expensive ... and at the end of the testing I would have confirmed what I have already guessed. [shrug]

 

FYI: I also didn't start talking until I was three years old.

Edited by Retromancer
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Thank you for posting about this!!

 

I've experienced this for my whole life, and my sister has mentioned having difficulties with it too, interestingly enough... 

 

Joke is, I was an audio producer for 8 years, and I was quite good at it, if I may say.... my hearing is friggin' excellent, and I can detect far subtler tones and pitches than your average set of healthy ears... however, I still say "what?" pretty much constantly in conversations with people, particularly when there is much competing noise...

 

I have no tips to offer, other than to ask your conversation partner to speak slower and enunciate more so that you can understand them better.... phone calls are the worst, sometimes I've asked to just email people instead...

 

Most often I just do what immigrants do in a new country where they don't understand the language, and I just smile and say "yes" a lot, and hope it doesn't get me into trouble.....

 

 

(--edited to include my signature for reference--)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by lostinthoughtandjaded
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If there's a lot of background noise, like in a warehouse store or at a party of some kind, I'm pretty much SOL, so I end up nodding and smiling a lot while trying to piece together the words I do understand. It has gotten me in trouble, though, and my SO hates having to repeat herself all the time. 

 

I must say, it is a lot worse when I'm depressed, but definitely always there.

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Have you experienced issues with auditory processing?

 

Yes, I have/had auditory processing issues. More so for me, it is tied into my neurodevelopmental disorder & issues. Although it is true that not only sensory processing, but Autism Spectrum Disorders are very common with Bipolar Disorder.

 

How do you deal with it?

 

My auditory issues were never "severe" enough to do anything about, really. However my DH has CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) and he is looking for some kind of Auditory Training or similar therapies, because his processing is quite severe.

 

I know this is a first person site, however I do some things that helps him. And it could be beneficial for you. 

 

A couple of things I found that work are...

  1. Make sure he is looking at me when I talk
  2. Even if he is looking at me ask if he is paying attention
  3. Do not try to ask a question or ask for details or etc. if a TV, radio, plane, kids, etc. is on/in the background
  4. After I do talk, ask him to repeat what I just said

The key with this, is to not get angry or frustrated at him if he doesn't understand or hear everything I say. It's very hard at times, but I do understand to an extent. One of the main problems I used to have is that when somebody said something to me, I could not process everything what was said and at times I would sort of "fill in the blanks". I have noticed my DH does the same. And even though it is frustrating to me when I feel like he "doesn't listen" I know I felt frustrated when I couldn't process what was said.

 

Thank you for posting about this!!

 

I've experienced this for my whole life, and my sister has mentioned having difficulties with it too, interestingly enough... 

 

Joke is, I was an audio producer for 8 years, and I was quite good at it, if I may say.... my hearing is friggin' excellent, and I can detect far subtler tones and pitches than your average set of healthy ears... however, I still say "what?" pretty much constantly in conversations with people, particularly when there is much competing noise...

 

I have no tips to offer, other than to ask your conversation partner to speak slower and enunciate more so that you can understand them better.... phone calls are the worst, sometimes I've asked to just email people instead...

 

Most often I just do what immigrants do in a new country where they don't understand the language, and I just smile and say "yes" a lot, and hope it doesn't get me into trouble.....

 

That is how I am as well. That is the trick with auditory processing. I have had trouble with processing what was said, however never what I hear (noises/music). I can hear almost every cord of music, almost to the specific detail to where I can play what I hear. It's interesting how people with auditory processing problems or even CAPD have perfect hearing.

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  • 6 months later...

i'be had auditory processing disorder since preschool....and also hard of hearing and a speech disorder. I had to go to the hospital alot for tests and had to go to a speech therapist and a ENT doctor to help train my ears how to hear certain tones.

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I have not been able to enjoy a movie since the advent of digital audio in the movie theatres. They crank up the sound effects so high it's painful, plus I cannot hear the dialogue past all the bombs and whatnot. It's the same with a lot of HD stuff on cable, in fact. I will often watch SD stuff instead because of it. The problem I have is that I hear EVERYTHING during an episode. Every little noise. It has driven me over the edge several times and led to Intense moments of rage. It's like someone cranked up the volume from 1 to 10, but it only affects certain kinds of noises. So street traffic noise doesn't do much. But anything beeping, buzzing, humming, clinking, clanging, banging...OMG! I just wanna kill someone. Sometimes it is so bad it seems like walls don't even exist. I also have light sensitivity issues. I have not opened my blinds in months, and unless I m using dim lights, I cannot stand having them on. I don't know if there is any relationship between the light sensitivity and BP, tho. I will have to ask pdoc next time.

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I always thought it was just me - it seems like everyone mumbles I can't hear what people are saying half the time - and if there is background noise i'm doomed

 

I also speak really loudly - it's like I can't whisper in conversation I have a very hard time regulating my speech volume

so say i'm trying to have a conversation on the phone in a waiting room  everyone is gonna know my business

 

it's so embarassing

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That's very interesting.  At work I particularly struggle in meetings when a discussion is lively or gets heated, and when I'm speaking on the phone I have to take notes, otherwise it feels as though all I can hear is the noise from the offices around me.  In fact, I take notes when people are physically in my office too, because it's the only way I can control whether or not I understand them or will remember what was discussed.  I also keep the radio on at a low volume constantly while I'm working, because it creates a sort of white noise in the background that helps me not tune in to what's going on outside. 

 

I have to say though that I'd always thought that this was a combination of ADD traits (it was one of my first diagnoses) and lithium-induced cognitive stupidity.

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I have similar issues, especially with speech and background noise. There's coolers at my job and I can never hear anybody in the vicinity of those stupid things, I have to be right next to the person. I often ask for people to repeat themselves, or do a lot of smiling and nodding even. However, I always hear music and noises. For example, even if my fiance makes a tiny almost inaudible sigh and I know he hasn't said anything, I still ask him "what?", thinking the sigh must mean something. I'm pretty annoying with little sounds that way. I've had my hearing tested, and sometimes it shows up that I have a mild high frequency hearing loss sometimes it doesn't. It seems to be a problem with the fact that I also have very high pitched ringing in my ears that sometimes sounds just like the little tones they play. Last time I got my hearing tested we both agreed it's probably an issue that has to do with my ADD. I'm very interested to hear that this also could be correlated to my Bipolar as well. 

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I have similar issues, especially with speech and background noise. There's coolers at my job and I can never hear anybody in the vicinity of those stupid things, I have to be right next to the person. I often ask for people to repeat themselves, or do a lot of smiling and nodding even. However, I always hear music and noises. For example, even if my fiance makes a tiny almost inaudible sigh and I know he hasn't said anything, I still ask him "what?", thinking the sigh must mean something. I'm pretty annoying with little sounds that way. I've had my hearing tested, and sometimes it shows up that I have a mild high frequency hearing loss sometimes it doesn't. It seems to be a problem with the fact that I also have very high pitched ringing in my ears that sometimes sounds just like the little tones they play. Last time I got my hearing tested we both agreed it's probably an issue that has to do with my ADD. I'm very interested to hear that this also could be correlated to my Bipolar as well.

I'm pretty sure it is related to bipolar. Especially near the flip, my hearing is WAY amped up. Like on steroids.
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