Sunday, October 6, 2013

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

I wrote the thing below the video after waking up from a dream in which someone moved my notebook from the seat beside the teacher (who happened to be Barack Obama, just finishing a radio interview). When I mentioned my notebook had been at the seat, the person sitting in it resisted moving so I begrudgingly sat beside them, with someone else to my right. Then I experienced not being able to pay attention to the seminar class. Person to my right kept talking to me. And feeling angry, yet holding back being able to do anything for fear of seeming controlling. The rest spilled out from there. 

This doesn't encompass all of the ways I think I am affected by having an Auditory Processing Disorder, but words only go so far. 

I also offer up this wonderful short film called "How English Sounds to Non-English Speakers" as a different take. While it's not the intention of the video makers, I feel this captures my experience well. Notice if when you're watching the video, whether your mind or ears are straining to make out the words that aren't English. You can hear some of the words just fine, but then a lot is just garbled. I don't always hear that way, but it happens. And it is oh so taxing.

Auditory Processing Disorder means..

Trying to listen to people and having their spee jus not soun rye 
Missing the majority of emotional non-verbal information because it's not possible to 
take in all of the body language and facial expression and still process what they're 
Not really learning how to express emotion non-verbally because that information never 
made much sense

Seeming controlling because where we sit and who sits where is important to being able
to hear anybody
Seeming anti-social when it didn't matter that the maitre'd moved us twice, because 
afterwards someone seated a loud party of six right near our table
Going to a loud environment and needing a day to have silence afterward

Trying to converse, read, write, paint, or think in a loud environment and feeling unable 
to do it
Just not going places because they are too loud and chaotic, even if not trying to have a 
Finding out that those places don't seem loud to other people

Feeling a physical constriction of the ear canal when uncomfortable noises happen
Not enjoying 80s music because MIDI sounds are painful
Knowing what a sine wave sounds like because it hurts
Feeling "old" at 19 because loud bass coming from the next floor of the dorm is a 
Sensory nightmare that brings on nausea and JUST MAKE IT STOP

Tolerating simultaneously the noises of the hard drives, air conditioners, dying 
fluorescent lights, squeaky chairs, squeaky shoes, nails on denim, loud breathing, 
music through someone's headphones, brakes on a car a block away, sirens, piped in 
music, plates clanking, keyboards clacking, paper rustling, other conversations, birds 
outside, tinnitus inside, noises of cars, church bells, telephones ringing too loudly, 
-- and then people wondering why one direct tiny thing creates a overly sensitive reaction

Showing up early to get a seat in the front because not sitting in the front means it is 
impossible to filter out people talking who shouldn't be
Realizing that five minutes before the event starts no one else is in the front row anyway 
because no one sits in the front
Being perceived as the teacher's pet because paying attention requires all the focus, 
and sitting in the front is too keen for the cool kids.
Getting older and realizing that being the teachers pet wasn't a bad thing, except it has 
resulted in fear and self-consciousness every time because of all the teasing.
Not even understanding how much teasing happened because it was not possible to 
hear most of it.

Writing everything down because reading the text is easier than hearing it, but then having writers cramp AND brain cramp by the end because it was so much effort
Figuring out just the right amount of effort to apply to be able to hear and process, but 
not so much that focusing to the end is impossible

Feeling emotionally broken because upset and excited and angry voices scramble 
Thinking to the point that nothing makes sense
Feeling cut off from everyone because nothing makes sense

Asking for an assistive device every time at the movies, and only going to certain movie 
theaters because other theaters don't have the desired movie in captioning that day 
which means watching a movie but not understanding it
People not understanding why a captioning device would be needed for someone who 
seems to hear just fine
Videos online with no captioning and the music is too loud so turning up the volume 
Automatic captioning on youtube that doesn't work (which is worse than no captioning)
turning on some music in order to relax and then getting stuck trying to do the task that 
was at hand

Trying to listen to a person while doing a task and missing parts of what they're saying
Having to ask a person to repeat themselves
Having to ask a person to repeat themselves
Having to, sorry, ask a person to repeat themselves
Feeling embarrassed when it still doesn't make sense

Feeling like people expect an answer faster than it's possible to process a question and 
then formulate an answer
Stumbling through a group conversation because it's not possible to process five other 
people at once

Feeling fake because making eye contact while conversing makes listening hard but 
looking away makes people think they aren't being paid attention to
Feeling fake after discovering it's possible to trick people by looking at their foreheads or 
their lips

Feeling not smart with a far above average IQ
Feeling slow because it takes longer to respond
Feeling powerless because some voices are too hard to hear

- by Karen. 
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