Auditory processing issues are something I’ve always struggled with and even with knowledge understanding and coping strategies they can still have a negative effect on my daily life and some days more than others.
I always aim to explain things from my personal experience as well as any knowledge I have gathered while trying to understand what is going on and how I can live better with the issues, and I do this with all my conditions too.
There is not a problem with my ears, it is more an issue of coordination between my ears and my brain, and this can cause a delay or in processing or even the sounds not to be processed at all.
So, my brain is getting the sounds but there’s a delay with interpreting and processing the sounds into meaningful words.
With ADHD, ASD and PTSD I do experience a wide array of auditory problems most commonly background noise not only can be a sensory attack but also makes it almost impossible to focus on what I want to hear making conversations in noisy places almost impossible.
Another common problem is an inability to tune out any conversations within earshot, I can be sat face to face trying to converse with another person, yet I can only hear conversations going on around me and I have no choice which ones I tune into no matter how much I want to engage in my own conversation.
Something that is not spoken about as often is a delay in processing sounds and mainly words and this is what prompted me to look deeper into myself and any information I can find on the subject as well as talking to other people with a similar issue.
The delay I experience in processing sounds can be anything from minutes up to hours and is often very frustrating and means I miss out on things too, the best way to explain is with examples.
I went into Subway for a sandwich, ordered the type of bread meat and asked for it to be toasted with cheese on then waited while it was toasted.
Once toasted the lady looked at me and I saw her mouth move but all I heard was mumbled noises, she repeated herself a couple of times as I kept asking her what she was saying, then my son who was with me told me what she was saying and again all I heard was mumbled noises.
I gave up and gave a standard reply of “oh no its ok” this got me out of the stressful situation, and I was also feeling quite stupid too.
After the sandwich was wrapped and paid for the words, they had been saying to me become clear in my head “do you want salad and sauce on it” without realizing is shouted “aww I wanted salad and sauce” to which they both replied, “that’s what we were saying”.
Quite often my wife offers me a cup of tea and it is maybe an hour later the words have processed in my head and her reply is always “too late I asked you ages ago I’m busy now”.
Although this examples are food and drink related and have no real harm or impact there are many occasions I’ve not had important information or ended up in an argument partly because of the frustration and tension from myself and the people trying to communicate with me and often because I give up and people think I’ve heard what they’ve said and cannot understand why I seem to have ignored them yet I don’t realize I have and carry on about my business.
How I deal with the most common issues of background noise and tuning into other conversations is I am honest with people and tell them I need somewhere quieter to converse and away from other conversations and if that is not possible I make them aware of what I am struggling with especially at that time and people are very understanding and allow time for me to try and get into the conversation when I’ve been dragged out by outside influences.
Finding solutions for the delay in processing was a lot harder and the conclusion is that I cannot control or predict when it will happen or how long the delay will be.
The best way I have found to live with the delayed processing is to explain to people when this happens and hope they are understanding, educate the people I interact with regularly so they have better understanding and lastly to accept that this is out of my control and something I have to live with and tell people when it happens rather than feel stupid and try to mask it.
I do also have problems with speech that comes out as mixed-up nonsense and my wife says it sounds like I’m talking Russian, I take a breath put on a fake well-spoken accent and nine time out of ten the words come out correctly almost like I’ve had to jump start the speech side of my brain.
This issue is less of a problem and gives us a good laugh and my wife for reason can almost decipher what I’m trying to say or maybe she is just good at predicting what I want, which ever it is she is a good egg, and I would be lost without people like her.