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Hearing words but not understanding them

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Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby JohnDoe » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:26 pm

Hey everybody! Recently I've been having a problem when talking with other people. If they are not looking directly at me and I'm not "prepared" to listen, I'll just hear that the person is saying something to me but I will not understand the words. I can hear the volume, even the inflections but not the actual words. I may even ask the person to repeat four-five times until I finally understand. If I'm with a group, everybody else will understand except me so it's not the other person's voice that is the problem.

Anyway, this thing has started happening about 5-6 years ago and it happened rarely and since then it's been getting slowly worse. I've visited the doctor today to check but apparently there isn't anything wrong with my ear. The doctor then began to ask me if it only happens when I'm not paying attention to the person and other similar question and it clicked for me that it could somehow be related to AS. The doctor gave me some drops and told me to come back in a week or so if it continues.

I haven't told the doctor or anybody for that matter that I think I have AS. I don't want to get labelled and see other people looking at me the way people look at an autistic person(the people in my country are not very open minded). To cut to the chase: does anybody else have this problem? If it is AS related(attention deficit, brain wiring, etc) then I will find a way to deal with it on my own. I don't want other people poking into my personal life and frankly I can't afford it just so after weeks of tests they will confirm what I have already suspected.
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby Kymiby » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:17 pm

Some persons with AS has concentration issues. I am one of those and for me it's like I concentrate so much on what I'm doing/thinking so that I block other input.
It happens often when I'm in a conversation that I gather keys of what the conversation is about and when I think it's appropriate I say something relevant, only to find out that the other person already said that earlier but in different words.

When I try to get work done I need to be alone in the room and usually turn on music so that I can't hear people around me, just so that I can concentrate on the work. If someone require my attention I don't get anything done, neither my work nor what the other person wants me to do.

I don't know if we have the same issue, but know that some AS persons have issues with concentration. You can always say "Shut up and wait a second!" :wink:
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby JohnDoe » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:21 pm

But it doesn't happen only when I'm doing something else. I wrote earlier in my post that I have to ask them to repeat what they said several times. Even if the first time I was distracted, the second-third time I should be able to understand the words right?
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby Kymiby » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:25 pm

Well in my example I can be so concentrated on my own thoughts. They never stop. But as I said, I don't know if we have the same issue.
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby slugger » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:00 pm

Johndoe, there was a thread recently (sorry I can't remember which one) where several of us complained about the same issue. It's just like you said, the volume is there, but it sounds like the person is mumbling or something. For me (and I think the others said this too), it's when there are other noises (especially "white noise") going on. Also if I can't see the person's mouth moving that doesn't help either.
I have nothing wrong with my hearing, but very often when watching movies I have to ask my husband (who IS hard of hearing!) what the person said. And some movies are much worse than others. I remember specifically the movie "Backdraft", there was a constant sound of fire in the background so I couldn't understant half of the dialogue in the whole movie! Also when my husband and I are riding in the car (which means there's constant white noise from the cars, PLUS we're not looking at each other, so double whammy!) I can't understand a word he says and he always has to repeat everything. I can hear him usually, but not when we're in the car!

Kymiby, I get what you're saying too, I do that as well. Sometimes I'll get stuck on the first half of a sentence and I don't hear the rest! Or something will distract me and I'll miss the last 30 seconds (thats embarrassing!) But I have ADD as well as AS so I'm really bad with that!
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ~Ghandi
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby eloder » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:41 am

I get that every so often, with the frequency/intensity of the effect increasing as the ambient noise relative to the speaker increases.

For me, it usually isn't nonsense but my mind substitutes a similar or close match to the word I actually was trying to hear. It's not that I have an issue hearing, it's that my mind processes the audio signal incorrectly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_p ... g_disorder
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby Nuclear Xmas » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:09 am

I don't think that's an aspergers problem but a problem alot of people have. It's possible many in the group didn't understand either but acted like they did for fear of seeming rude. Unless it happens all of the time I doubt it's an actual issue. Just some strange, harmless little phenomenon in the brain.
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Re: Hearing words but not understanding them

Postby ReverieX » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:45 pm

This happens to me often. It's more common if i'm focusing on something else or if i didn't expect to have someone speak to me, but it also happens in the middle of conversations. When it happens, i hear sound and i see the person speaking, but it sounds like jibberish or a foreign language. Once this happens, I usually will not be able to understand them even if they repeat 4 or 5 times, which is pretty embarrassing. Most of the time i just wind up smiling and nodding or giving a little laugh and hoping that that's an appropriate response to whatevertheysaid. :/

my hearing, technically, is fine. As someone else said, i think this is an auditory processing disorder.
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