This is something that happens to me in crowded public places where I’m surrounded by people engaged in not-particularly-quiet chatter, e.g. in a very busy diner or in an audience before a concert begins. Periodically, my spatial perception of the sound field around me falters; it’s almost like the sound “turns inside out”. This peculiar sensation persists for 5-10 seconds, and then my sense of spatial perception returns. If I linger in that environment, this phenomenon seems to repeat every few minutes.
This is not something that happens when the sources of sounds are distinct and few, e.g. if I’m in a room with just a few people chatting. It also seems uniquely associated with human conversation; I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it in a situation with non-human sounds, as when listening to a turbulent river or a busy factory floor.
Anyone else ever experienced this? Is there a name for it?