A funny thing keeps happening to me and I’m really not sure what to make of it.

If someone starts talking when something else is going on they’re at serious risk of a fierce SHHHHHHH. I’m not totally sure why, even though I’ve been able to disentangle separate noises for quite a while (birdsong even when a car roars past, for example: at first it used to be drowned out). It seems to be easier when both noises have nothing to do with speech, or if only one of the competing noises is speech-related.

When both sounds involve speech it’s a lot more complicated. I’m not sure if it’s because I can’t concentrate on the human voice while another voice is making a train announcement or coming through the telly or radio, which means hearing is starting to take over; or whether it is impossible to concentrate on lipreading and listening to something else at the same time (which means (a) lipreading and listening are balancing each other out in my brain’s language centre and (b) I’m a failure at multitasking).