Study finds you can change your brain to hear better in chaotic, noisy environments

Originally published at: Study finds you can change your brain to hear better in chaotic, noisy environments | Boing Boing


I’m mildly affected by sensitivity to noisy places - enough that I take along a pair of musician’s earplugs to wear in movie theaters, restaurants, etc. I’m more likely to disengage without them, but Coupland’s trouble seems excruciating.


I have a hell of a time hearing specific conversations in places with competing ambient noise, but I’m old and have tinnitus.


I’m pretty bad at doing this, my wife however is like a machine, able to to track multiple conversations and comment on the background music at the same time, which I can barely make out!


I effectively have high sensitivity, but low selectivity. I can hear the person talking in front of me, but I can also hear that couple over there talking, the traffic outside, the noise from the kitchen, the music over the sound system, and anything else making noise in the room, including things that a lot of people think are quiet. It’s not so much trouble hearing, it’s trouble processing. I’m sure the study works for some, perhaps even most people, but it’s not going to work for everyone.


I appreciate the effort put into this. Still, my solution leans toward avoiding those types of environments whenever possible. That kind of exposure seems to make my hearing worse in general for an uncomfortable period of time afterwards. The trend in designing places that are as open as possible (and the noise that creates) has led to some focus on fixing the acoustics and advising people that this can be a serious health hazard for customers and staff:


What if the chaotic and noisy environment is inside my head?


When I was a kid I used to listen to 40 metre novice band, ham radio morse code, with an unselective receiver. Initially chaos, eventually you would be able to focus on one signal ( after days of exposure ).


I need this training. I’m terrible at following speech in noisy environments.

I did read once [citation needed] that the ability to process speech amidst background noise is correlated with high intelligence. So that’s one more proof, if any were needed, that I am not a genius.

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