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Do You Hear What I Hear? Mesothelioma Nurse Explains What Can Influence What You Hear

Ear

When you visit the doctor when you are dealing with a frightening diagnosis such as malignant mesothelioma, it is easy to get a little confused while you try  to familiarize yourself with new medical terms. You may hear something one way, but your support person, who was also at the appointment, heard something different.  This can happen to anyone. There are reasons for hearing the same words, but not hearing what the person is trying to say.

There is a four-second audio clip going around the internet that is an example of how people hear differently.  People are divided into two camps on what they hear in the computer-generated clip: half hear “Laurel” while the other half hear “Yanny.” When you say those words they sound totally different. How can people hear the same clip, but interpret it differently?

There are actually scientific reasons that can explain why we hear one or the other.  Whether someone hears Laurel or Yanny can depend on how old they are- as we age our ears hear fewer sounds on the high pitched range. Those folks will hear Laurel. What you are hearing the audio clip on also can influence what you hear. The more high pitched the sound or tinny the speakers , the more people hear Yanny.  There is also the element of someone putting the suggestion into your brain by asking in advance what do you hear, Yanny or Laurel. This can influence what you hear.

When you are at important medical appointments, remember to ask for clarification from your team. Repeat what you understand you heard. Clarification, explaining your understanding of the information, and repeating it out loud, can all help to avoid misinformation.

Communication and interpretation must be clear so that the same message is heard by both the patient and the family member.

Yanny or Laurel is an interesting, fun clip on the internet.  It shows how easily we can hear things differently. But it is also a lesson in discussing what it is you are hearing when it comes to your mesothelioma treatment.

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Last Modified: November 19, 2018

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