Inability to hear or do two things at once

About 4 years ago, I the wife and I were having a very rough time of things, we both ended up on brain meds and therapy. Things sorted themselves out well, but there’s an odd side effect that…I can’t attribute it to that time of my life, but I see similarities between what she’s experienced and what I’m experiencing.

I also have partial deafness that makes it particularly hard to hear certain voices: deeper mens voices, young kids voices, they come out garbled.

But here’s the clincher:
It has to do if there’s ANY distracting noise. Two sets of voices, even if they’re perfectly loud and disctinct and I can’t concentrate on either conversation. It can be a voice and mechanical noise. I just can’t make anything out.

Further, I’ve lost the ability to multi-task. It may be my choice of career (IT), it may be spending a LOT of time deep in thought picking up IT skill after IT skill (Can a brain get full?) But really, I can’t walk and chew bubblegum at the same time…anymore.

It really seems to be something that started after the stressful period with my wife. Almost a combination of different things that might be conspiring to make things worse…an inability to hear, and inability to concentrate, and a much higher tendency to get frustrated when that happens.

i’ve been to an audiologist and while I do have deafness at certain ranges, when they performed the test with tones over conversation, since I was concentrating with headphones on nothing else, I did just fine.

My wife has a shortage of Zen sometimes, usually in crowds, and that seems to have been exasperated by the stressful time she went through (with included a nervous breakdown.) She’s much better, but it’s something we avoid.

I almost wonder if the trauma we went through left residual damage…Stuff that didn’t ever come up in therapy, so it wasn’t dealt with.

I’ve discovered the wiki page on Central Auditory Processing Disorder ( and while it seems similar, it mostly occurs in children

So do you go to a General Practitioner? A Shrink? Have you heard of this before?

If I were you I would talk to my GP first, but my guess would be that s/he will refer you to a neurologist. I do not think a shrink is going to help you (maybe your wife, it is not clear what her issue might be).

Shrinks refer to it as “direction of attention” problems. I have some, stemming from a skull fracture. Mine was diagnosed and treated by a psychologist, who said that if his treatments didn’t work, he would refer me to a psychiatrist. (A psychologist has a degree in psychology. A psychiatrist had degrees in both psychology and medicine.)

Yours sounds quite a bit worse than mine. Like njtt said, see a GP first. The GP can run some preliminary tests, and if necessary, will probably end up referring you to a psychiatrist or a neurologist.

Did you psychologist give any indication as to the treat-ability of it?

(I guess that dream job on the trading floor of the stock exchange is right out for me.)

Mine is fairly mild. He just told me to avoid driving in heavy traffic, or unfamiliar neighborhoods. If it got more serious, he said he could refer me to a psychiatrist, who might prescribe some pharmaceuticals to treat it. I don’t know what the odds are.

It wierd, I don’t seem to have any problems like that…functionally, I can drive and do stuff and whatever, it’s just talking (or watching a movie, e.g.) that I can’t do with two or more sources.