Training Selective Hearing
  • I'm not sure if this is the right place for this kind of discussion, but I was thinking about selective hearing today.

    Selective hearing is your ability to pay attention to a specific source of sound and separate it from the other things you are hearing. I got to wondering whether or not it is a cognitive skill that varies from one person to another, and then, if it is something that can be sharpened deliberately through training?
    For instance, consider a very easy case where you're listening to a man and a woman's voice simultaneously speaking coherent sentences at the same time. A normal person could easily focus on one of the voices and repeat what they are saying.

    Imagine using 3D sound, the sort of thing where you get good sense of direction a sound is coming from, assuming you use headphones. A harder test could be to have multiple instances of the same voice, coming from slightly different directions, saying strings of randomly generated words. The solution to the test would be identifying correctly what one source in particular is saying, that voice could identify itself at the start of the test.

    This is really just kind of idle brainstorming, so there's a lot of perhaps here, but perhaps a person could get progressively better at harder tests by deliberately applying this skill and training themselves, and perhaps in doing so they could solve tests that would sound extremely confusing and unintelligible to the majority of untrained people? Maybe it would be a kinda useless skill? Fun party trick at least.
  • I've heard of people using clicking noises, and listening to how it reflects, to do very basic echolocation (avoid obstacles, etc). I don't know how much credence to lend all of it. I guess a person could experiment and find out...

  • CassoxCassox May 13
    I knew a guy with danlos type 6 who used echolocation. He either clicked or used a dog training clicker. It is something that can be done.
    Also there is a reflex people have to look in the direction of a sudden loud noise. With his permission, I used to sneak up and yell. Despite being blind since birth, he still reflexively pointed his eyes at the source of the sound.
  • I listened to this free 7 day echolocation audio course a while ago.

    I didn't gain the ability myself but it was interesting and it did make me aware of differences in sounds that I hadn't noticed before.

    It would take some practice but I think it is a skill that could be learned.