Monday, 11 April 2016

Amplified hearing?

Crows in a treeMy acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM (MWR - explanation here) noticed a 'new' strange thing recently. I put new in quotes because these things are probably quite normal with MWR but it's the first time MA has experienced them.

MA was on a train and could hear two women, seated nearby, talking. They were talking too quietly for MA to hear what they were saying. Then, quite suddenly. MA could hear every word perfectly. MA cannot remember what the conversation was about except that the subject seemed fairly mundane. Then MA came out of a MWR! As this happened, the words in the women's conversation became impossible to hear once again.

It appears that the MWR was somehow allowing MA to hear the women's conversation. Or was it? There are two likely explanations for this 'amplified hearing' phenomenon, both raising intriguing questions. The most obvious is that MA was not hearing the real conversation at all but a fictitious version produced by MA's own brain. A MWR is, after all, a part dream state. It is typical for MWRs to mix real sensory information with dream imagery.

The other likely explanation is that the MWR actually helped MA to hear the real conversation somehow. There doesn't seem any obvious way that a MWR could amplify the sound but maybe it could reduce background noises, like noise cancelling headphones. Hearing is, of course, like all senses, primarily a brain thing. So maybe there is a mechanism in the brain that can, in certain circumstances, filter out background noise. One clue is the way that, when people are asleep, certain sounds, like alarm clocks or babies crying, seem to disturb them while others, of equal volume, are ignored. It appears that the sleeping brain only hears things of vital importance, filtering out the rest. A MWR state is part dream and so might have access to such a noise filter mechanism within the brain. The same thing might happen in hypnagogic episodes. What is needed is more examples of this kind to see if a sound filter operates during such near sleep states.

Without knowing what the women were actually saying, it's not possible to say which possible explanation might be true. Whatever the cause of the phenomenon, it is easy to see how 'amplified hearing' could be interpreted as paranormal by someone who experiences it. If anyone knows of any reports of similar 'amplified hearing' experiences, please let me know.

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