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Re: other ideas? the mundane explanation

Being a person who likes to opt for more mundane and plausible explanations for extraordinary phenomena, I would vote for the explanation proposed by Harriet Jacobster. All people, especially deaf people, rely on non-autitory cues to follow conversations. These are direct visual cues such as lip-reading and interpretation of body language, and other cues such as environmental and contextual cues. A deaf person would have these forms of interpretation and processing operating in overdrive. The cues obtained may not, on their own, be sufficient to follow a conversation at the time, but may be sufficient to implant ideas or concepts which may be reproduced at a later time, especially of the context at the later time is appropriate.
Basically, we have to remember that the cochlea is not the only organ involved in communication!  

A/Prof  Colette McKay
NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
Department of Otolaryngology, The University of Melbourne
384-388 Albert St. East Melbourne, Australia
Phone +613 9667 7506   Fax  +613  9667 7518
email:  colette@unimelb.edu.au
Dr. Chatterjee,
  I have a question that has been bugging me for some time.  I was diagnosed
as going deaf when I was 12.  My father is profoundly deaf but the majority
of his hearing loss occurred within a 10 year period ending around the end
of puberty.  I am moderately deaf at the age of 41 and started wearing
hearing aides at the age of 29.  No one else in our family was hard of
hearing until after the age of 60.
  My question follows the next described situation.  My father, who one must
now scream at for there to be any understanding (he wears behind the ear
aides on both ears), will at times repeat ideas or fragments of converstions
when he is in the room but not participating in a conversation.  There
doesn't seem to be any acknowledgment on his part that he is indeed hearing
any of these ideas.  Minutes later he will repeat these ideas as if they
were his own.
  My husband has repeated this to me as well.  That I have been, for the 10
1/2 yrs that we have been together,  done this same thing.  When it has been
pointed out to me right when it happens, I swear I did not hear anything.  I
do believe that I am hearing this, my cochlea is transmitting this to the
part of my brain that hears, yet I cannot say that I have heard.  I have met
other deaf individuals that have happened this to them.
  The aforementioned situation occurs even when I am not wearing my aides.
What is happening?
  My question is this: is there any research going on in this area?  Perhaps
the connection between my cochlea and the part of the brain that processes
the stimuli is defective?  Could it be rectified?  Is anyone studying this?
What is this called?  Since I know that I am not alone in this condition, I
can only assume that this a quite common condition.  Is there anything I can
do to lessen this, or learn to hear what stimulus is being received by my
  Also, when I wake after a particularly good rest, why can I hear noise
better?  I can turn the TV on for my children and can hear the "noise" of it
better at a lower volume.  My comprehension may or may not be better at a
lower volume on those days, but what I really notice is the noise that I can
acknowledge at a lower volume.
  I will await any type of answer that you can provide.  If this is not in
your area of expertise, please feel free to forward my questions to someone
who is knowledgable in this area.