Michael Arrington would appear to share the same hearing issue I suffer:
One problem I have is very bad hearing. When there is background noise/music/conversation I often cannot understand what a person is saying right in front of me. Sometimes I try to follow the conversation from fragments that I pick up. Other times, I ask for them to repeat what they said. It?s frustrating.
I’ve suffered the same thing since my late teens. Crowds, be they pubs, parties whatever are the problem. The louder the background noise the worse it is. I had a speech pathologist tell me a couple of months back that I should seek treatment (the golden child is seeing one). I told her that I’ve gone this long without cure, no need to fix it now.
From what I can gather it’s often related to Juvenile Tinnitus. I attended a “rock concert” when I was 15, I ears rang at low levels for the better part of the next 5 years. At 18 I’d convinced myself that I could hear high pitched sounds that others couldn’t hear (note: there was NO internet back then to give a diagnosis). The ringing eventually went away, but the issue with background noise has been present ever since. I was also heavily involved with Jazz and Concert Bands until my early 20’s which probably didn’t help.
I’d note some of the trolls of Crunchnotes have been harsh. It is both unfair and uncalled for. I’ve never seen my inability to easily define conversations in crowds as a disability. You’ll often see me stand slightly side on to people in a conversation so I can better focus on what is being said. There are of course times where you just nod your head and agree with everything someone is saying to you because you haven’t got the faintest idea what they are saying, but certainly (at least for me) it is the exception to the rule. The thought (as one commenter argued) that if you cant hear properly you shouldn’t put yourself in that situation is beyond offensive. Just accept that some people find it difficult to hear in crowds.