Does annoying background noise keep you from having a meaningful conversation with family and friends because of APD?
As I sit here at my home computer, the house is quiet, without noise except for the keys clicking on the keyboard. For one wrestling with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) easily distracted and background noise makes it hard to concentrate, focus and process. This quietness is perfect.
This entire scenario is not typical, but I do love the quiet, it seems the words and my thoughts flow flawlessly on paper but not in a conversation.
However, the quiet will soon be interrupted, with background noises; TV (high volume does not help), noise from the washer and dryer, conversations (again, speaking LOUDER is not better), phone rings, text dings, music coming from a different room, and noticeable it is all noisy.
The distractions remind me of the moment I had when my Psych explained what I was struggling with was real learning disorders, APD, and ADD, but that is only a label. I learned about it so I could educate my “circle” how they could help me. Noise can cause irritability and anxiety, which can damage relationships and interfere with your sex life. Of course, something is always to blame for interfering with your sex life besides the ex. Oh my, let’s don’t go there!
Let’s get back to my true story. This post is not really about the quiet, but the annoyance of not being able to apprehend the sounds to recognize words in sentences. It is overwhelming and always aggravating to be struggling to determine words, language, or ideas; just, conversation. If I am face to face with you, I can focus and process well if there is no background noise. If not intentionally face to face with you, I only process the last part of a sentence, the first of a sentence is like a mumble.
I’ve accused my husband of mumbling way too many times, and I am sorry for that. Remarks might come through with certain words drowned out by other noises. I then try to determine the message one is trying to communicate with what I hear of the message.
I wish I could have JUST ONE DAY without asking any one to repeat what they said. Huh? What? Pardon? Or replying with something that shows I entirely misunderstood the message. It is so much like having hearing loss, but I can hear, I’m deaf to certain sounds. Crazy, yeah? There is not a darn thing I can do about it. There are no devices available for this; a hearing aid doesn’t stimulate processing; it just makes it louder.
Have you ever been in a bar or restaurant so noisy that you made yourself hoarse trying to talk loudly enough to be heard? Maybe you gave up on having a meaningful conversation altogether? Maybe you even ended up drinking more than you intended to because it was too noisy to converse. All of these are side effects of noise, and noise is a side effect of annoyance.
Well, noisy people and places annoy me. I find when several conversations are occurring at once, I can’t process any of them, who freakin’ cares besides me?
We all have struggles, and yep I have a learning disorder (or two), anxiety, got pushed out of a job after 25 years, whined to my Psych, and after sulking for five years, I’m moving on. But I get it, won’t forget it, and want to share it.
Sharing with others is essential; everyone has something going on; it’s called “life experiences”. I have life experiences; I hid them all for a long time, now I want to share them all. My job was my identity, I was emotionally attached to it, and I lost it. I am not the Big Pharma sales representative any longer, but I am a person who worked for a Big Pharma company for 25 years and learned a lot of transferrable skills.
I have accepted that I hear and learn differently, I am living with it, but instead of “that” being me, I am me with “that” as frustrating as that is. A funny part of my story is as I explain I have learning disorders and what they are, it seems that to most I talk to recognize it, and they also have it! Hum. So maybe I’m not so freakin’ different?
The easiest, quickest way to communicate is merely to say something (for me I add a shock factor) and then the other person replies, right? Right, unless the listener has APD, then the remarks come through with certain words drowned out by other noises. Most people aren’t familiar with APD and are much more likely to wonder if I am just not listening, not very intelligent or don’t freaking care about the conversation (usually the latter). I am missing out on so much.
It seems I get essential messages wrong, forgetful, and have problems following instructions, sequencing, losing parts of directions, instructions or recipes, and lengthy explanations. Do I hear an “Amen”?
What do you tell your employer to keep this from becoming another one of those jobs where you quit or if you are lucky enough to retire before they can fire you? Disclose it or not, now or later? It happened to me; performance evaluations pointing out inadequate performances (by their new standards and the introduction of computers), pushed me to disclose my learning disorders, with accommodations (for a medical sales representative) provided to my employer.
My accommodations require I take time to make notes and to write essential information down, have reminders put in a memo or email, create a specific adjustment to my schedule was created. I use index cards to trigger the points I present and quiet places for preparations. None of this went over well, but Big Pharma played along shortly.
Sometimes I need quiet time, an absence of background noise and distractions? If the employer will comply with reasonable accommodations, it sounds good on paper but it is not practical in the real world. The noise is present, and my focus is not.
I find it is common in the pharmaceutical industry for older employees (what? I was 52) get pushed out for younger, less expensive employees. I guess being a seasoned representative with 25 years of experience and relationships which takes years to develop didn’t freakin’ matter in the end.
IN CONCLUSION, THE Bottom Line: Stress, Anxiety, and fear!
A smarter person than I said, “I hadn’t noticed that I had a hearing problem. I just thought most people had given up on speaking clearly.” Touché
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I found out how to supplement my retirement; writing which I enjoy, and helping others that have felt the emotions I felt while jobless before I found Wealthy Affiliate.
Please leave a comment on your personal experiences, helpful tips, and resources or other topics you would like to read.