Archive for May 5th, 2009

Agnosia (deriv: “agnosis:” loss or lack of knowledge) has been “on my mind” (sorry, terrible pun) lately.  Actually, that’s perhaps a bit of an oxymoron?

Anyway, I was speaking with someone recently who said that they had some problems with remembering people’s faces and names.  Well, I think we can all relate to that–even NTs.  I know it takes me at least anywhere from five to 10 times to get most people sorted out regarding either! However, for this person, it was an ongoing issue.

There is a name for this, at least as far as the facial issue. It’s called Prosopagnosia. I know. Pretty fancy a term, huh? It’s been linked to the Autistic Spectrum, however, Spectrum, Spectrum…manifestation, manifestation…  Not to mention, brain injuries, and possibly genetics? See citation in above link (Ref. #1.)  Which does kind of bring us back in a semi-circular way to the Spectrum.  Granted, no genetic link proven yet.

This is not my issue, however.  Especially since my facial (and name) recognition issues certainly don’t fall without any sort of reasonable “memory deficit” timelines or variables.  The only reason I wanted to bring the above to your attention is because I am frustrated! How come the facial recognition one gets a long and hard to say and even “remember” name, itself!

Because you see, my issue is with hearing.  Yes, something to do with auditory functioning.  Now, before we get to my “possible -agnosia,” let’s look a bit at how auditory processing works and some other issues that might be going on…

Oh, and wait…I may get a nice, competitive, fancy-pants name myself! How does “Sensorineural Hearing Loss,” grab you? I know.  It’s not nearly as good, is it?

Now, onto how we hear.  I’ll try and keep this as simple and brief as possible.

“Sound” is not what you “hear.”  That’s actually the end result.  Sound is vibration.  That vibration is energy.  Picture a graph that looks all wavy and goes up and down like a roller coaster.  No loops though! *laughing* That represents the sounds waves.  The can vary in frequency meaning the waves cycle in time.  They are measured in hertz.  How you interpret them is by pitch. I think it is easy to understand that lower frequency waves vibrate more slowly in the duration of time than higher frequency waves.

Moving on to amplitude. We don’t hear these vibrations (or sound) in a vacuum.  They move through air and alter the air molecules.  This is what amplitude means. This is variable upon the above.  Also, we hear complex sounds/waves over different periods of time/frequencies so overall, this is how we interpret how loud things are.

So how about our ears and how we hear? There are three parts to the ear: outer, middle, inner! There, not too complicated!

The outer ear, well, looks like your ear! The external part helps direct sound to where it needs to travel.  Deeper inside that, is the ear canal that leads to your tympanic membrane or your eardrum in the middle ear.  The ear canal contains most of all that gooey “ear wax” and some hairs that do serve a purpose–keeping junk out of your ears!

The tympanic membrane of the middle ear directs vibrations to the three bones–colloquially named “the hammer, anvil, stirrup!” Simply based upon shape? Although I never thought they looked like that! And yes, we have bones in our ears.

Alright, Anatomy and Physiology Class is almost over! The inner ear.  This is how we finally “hear” what we hear.  To quickly end all of this, the inner ear sends the vibrations to the brain where they can be neurologically processed.  Voila! Hey, I heard that!

So, what I was curious about regarding myself is, why I have difficulty distinguishing some sounds while in conjunction with others? Is it some kind of “-agnosia?”

Well, some issues regarding basic hearing.  Aging? I don’t think I’m that old (yet) but there could be some loss.  Still, I don’t think that is an issue.  Inner ear infections! Chronic as a kid and one infection in my late 20s where my ear started bleeding! Then I went partially deaf.  Burst of my ear drum? I was actually sent for auditory testing to make sure there was no permanent loss.  Still, some loss overall? Chronic Tinnitus?

Oh…wait a second! I may not need to go any further here! My closest “-agnosia” was perhaps Auditory Agnosia but it didn’t seem to fit. And then there was Sensorineural Hearing Loss which I was heading towards with the inner ear problems.

I think I have it here though! Take a look at this.  Auditory Processing Disorder.  And it’s comorbid with AD(H)D, Autism and Asperger’s!

Ah, it feels good to make a nice, geeky post like this again. It’s been a while!

Alright, alright…  To counterbalance the “drama” of Tony Bennett, here’s another song.

“Kiss Like Ether” by Claudia Brucken

Further, did that woman in the photograph in the dream I had look a bit like Claudia? Hmmm…  Well, perhaps? If so, that’s a good thing! I’ve been in serious love with Claudia Brucken ever since I was a teenager!

She’s done lots of stuff and probably more collaborative work than I know of? Most recently, a couple of songs with Andy Bell (from Erasure, which I have.)  One of them is so hilarious, too! OMG! I laugh every time I hear it.  I’m going to keep you in suspense, little naughty one that I am, as I will stream it at some point in the future.  No doubt.

She is also now married or partnered up with the “blonde guy,” whatever his name is, from the 80s band that no longer exists, OMD.  I have none of their stuff.

However, I do have the most amazing cover version of “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush.  This was done by Claudia and pianist Andrew Poppy.  I am picky about my cover versions but I’m sorry, Kate.  This one blows your original out of the water.  I have streamed this one before.  It’s unbelievable!

I originally found her through the rather “experimental” band from Germany, in the 80s called “Propaganda.”  I still love their first album.  I heard the second wasn’t so great so I didn’t buy it.  Maybe now I should source it out and see if my “older, non-teenage ears” will have a better opinion.

This is from a solo album she put out and it took me forever to find at the time.  And only on cassette tape!

Gee, could I talk about Claudia Brucken any more?

I know.  Terribly fascinating.  However, I’m kind of getting into this “write a post when you just get up” sort of thing.  Well, I checked email, silly Twitter but beyond that, nothing! No meds yet.  No tea yet.  So, there’s this sort of weird fluidity to my brain right now.  Almost like “stream of consciousness” writing.

However, now it’s “stream of consciousness thinking.”  This could be either a very fun thing or a very dangerous thing. The reason for the danger? With my “stream of consciousness thinking” a loss of mental filters? More so than I already lose my mental filters? Jumpin’ Jehosephat!

So, should I continue? Okay.

I was on chat with someone last night and the person mentioned they were having markedly, distinct dreams than they were before.  I just said, “Oh.”  I know, that sounds like I was “truly engaged” but you see, I was trying to look for jobs at the same time, so I was bouncing back and forth…  Trying to concentrate all over…

No matter.  Not the point.

Well, I had a dream this morning about a woman having a photo in a magazine.  I had “found” this photo on an airplane as I was flipping through the magazine.  All of the sudden, some great big Asian guy–no, he was really huge–came running over to me and he said, “If you see this woman, GIVE HER THESE!!!”

Then he shoved into my hand, these tiny, little, brown, square pieces of paper.  They looked like postage stamps but they weren’t.  They had all of these patterns and some odd characters on them.  They weren’t “strings” like you would normally view them as in a sentence but just sort of randomly dispersed on the paper squares.

Then he ran away.  Back to his seat on the plane.  I think he had a Samurai sword too.


I don’t know what to say about that one. *laughing*