Do You Hear What I Hear?

Hearing tests in Hopkins Minnesota and Twin Cities Area

Remember being a kid in elementary school and playing “whisper down the lane?”

Usually, the final sentence was nowhere near the same as the original sentence spoken by the first player. It was not just a small distortion, it was usually a completely different concept. For instance, it would start out as something like, “Today is Monday, May 8th,” and end as “I like the color blue.” The idea with this game was that you were not allowed to ask the person to repeat the sentence after it was first whispered to you. The game always erupted in laughter, but it was a good exercise in how hearing is not always objective.

We All Hear Differently

There is a subjective element to hearing, much as there is a subjective element to light. That is not to say there is no science involved or even that these senses are completely subjective. However, senses are based mostly in science and slightly based in experience and perception. If a word is mentioned that is unfamiliar, we may not hear it on the first pass. If it is repeated and we do not have the opportunity to ask for clarification, it may be deleted from our understanding of what was spoken. None of this takes into account our actual scientific ability to hear. However, it does affect how we process what is heard and highlights our differences in hearing.

Beyond words, think about hearing sounds

People have different tastes in sounds, much as they do in flavors and sights. Some people enjoy classical music while others find it unsatisfying. Some people enjoy Hip Hop and rap while others prefer to listen to heavy metal and rock. Therefore, when listening to music, melodies are heard differently depending on your preferences. This is yet another example of how we all hear differently.

Now Add Science – How Can We Understand These Differences in Hearing?

While more likely than not, “whisper down the lane” is an exercise in subjective hearing, science may also play an important role in how we hear individually. We are not all born perfect (and most of us are not). Some people are born with hearing difficulties.  And many of us develop hearing difficulties as we age due to various reasons and factors. However, no matter how or when it happens, your ability to hear certain decibels is directly related to your ear health and is completely scientific. While you may subjectively hear or not hear something or a nuance in a sentence, hearing the sentence being spoken at all is usually a more objective concept. Being able to tell that words are being spoken or music is being played is directly related to the science of hearing. Therefore, it is important to maintain your ear health to eliminate any scientific issues that would affect your sense of sound.

To make sure your ear health is not stopping you from hearing the world around you, contact the experts at Kim Fishman, Audiology. Kim Fishman and her staff can help try and keep your hearing working as well as possible so that minimal distortion happens of the words, sounds, or messages filtering through your eardrum.

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