Okay. Most of y'all do this automatically and you don't even think about it because you've been doing it your entire life. It's so ingrained into your being that you're not really aware of this awesomely amazing thing that you're doing.
You're motoring along on your daily life and you're doing what you normally do. Life is great, you're listening/hearing everything that you normally do. Every once in a while, though, your brain says, "wait a sec. What is that sound?" You zero in on it, process it, identify it, and then put it in the background and keep right on going. You do this over, and over, and over again subconsciously. But you only really, really, REALLY listen to it when something happens to put your attention on it. It could be something simple like it "pinging" over and over again. More often, it's the fact that it is "pinging" asynchronously, in some fashion. And then, you can't let it go until it is resolved. (Hmm, that's what alarms are supposed to do. But then some annoying innovator added a snooze feature. I guess they got tired of replacing the alarm clock when people took bats to them??)
As a recent recipient of a cochlear implant, I don't get the luxury of "backgrounding" auditory information at will quite yet. Cochlear implants are still hearing aids at heart. They send everything they pick up to my nerves. I cannot yet filter the sounds I wish to not pay attention to. So, instead of "filters", think 6-lane highways. I know I can ignore the sounds moving away from me. But I can't ignore the sounds moving towards me. At 2am in the morning. there are only 2 or 3 things to worry about. But at 7:30am to 8pm, it's rush hour traffic. You know how your eyes flick back and forth when there are a million little things to pay attention to in front of you? My brain is flicking back and forth as I try to pay attention to all of the input. In the beginning, it is just a blur of input. Lots of new input, and that's exciting, but exhausting. Lately though, I've been able to make out colors and some details. Examples:
* I didn't know my wife's voice rises an octave or two when she's excited. (I knew it lowered and slowed down when she's angry. LOL...)
* I can now differentiate people by voice. Could never do that previously. I can pick out Susie's voice in a crowd sometimes.
* All of the distinct instruments in songs? They're ruining my previous enjoyment of my favorite songs. I grieve for that lost. But I'm enjoying the new depth of sounds that come with music.
And the layers...they keep adding on. I can pick out individual conversations in a room full of conversations. I'm actually understanding a word here and there in songs. (How cool is that?!?) I've discovered that my wife talks to herself alot when she's really, really, really focused on the task in front of her. In her office. Which is on the other side of the house. No, she isn't shouting. Yes, she is talking to herself under her breath. I can hear that.
2 weeks ago, I heard a rhythmical sound over and over again. It wasn't a click and it wasn't a voice. It wasn't music, and it wasn't anything I was doing. I know what keyboards sound like (except when done by certain co-workers...LOL...) and it wasn't that. I got up to investigate it and it stopped. After I sat down, about 30 seconds later, it started again... Dubya. Tee. Eff! I asked my wife, who was outside, to come into the house to help me identify the sound. She and Millie (the dog) came in to listen for the sound. It could no longer be heard. Hmm... Just as Susie was about to go back outside again, the sound started again, but so much louder. I told Susie there it was again but now it was LOUD! Millie was chewing on a toy that made a specific sound. Which I heard. Through the back door. OUTSIDE! How exciting. Wait. HOW ANNOYING!!!
Anyhoo, all of that to say, I currently don't have the ability to tune out the sounds I don't want to hear. I'm gaining the skill...but a lifetime ability isn't developed in a few months. There are days when I simply can't handle it. There are days that I don't want to handle it. But then there are the days that I like it and the days that I love it. But no matter which of the above it is, I'm thankful I have the opportunities to even be in one of those states.
As always, thank you for listening. 🤟🏾💖🤟🏾