I’m no audiologist, but I’m fairly certain that the process of hearing is extraordinarily complicated. And even though I know it involves all kinds of inside-your-ear stuff and nerve-stuff and brain-stuff, what gets me is the mental-conditioning part. Here’s what I mean:
How many times have you experienced this scenario?:
Friend: Are you going to the party on Thursday night?
Friend: Are y–
You: Oh! Yeah. I am.
It’s not that you didn’t hear the person the first time around, it’s that your brain didn’t process it immediately. You might have been thinking of something else, or been too busy formulating a response to what you were sure they were going to say. Either way, it took a second for the sounds to make their way into your brain-innards and actually form meaningful words.
This is fascinating to me, mostly because I do it ALL THE TIME. I’m pretty sure I’m not brain damaged, so my guess is that this is a kind of conditioned response.