Directly following World War II, Dr. Ramsdell was working in a veterans’ administration hospital in Pennsylvania. He observed young men returning from war who had lost some or all of their hearing. These men complained that the world seemed “dead.” From that, he developed a theory about how we hear, or, as he described it, the “feeling of oneness with an active environment.”

Primitive level. Recognizing the changing background sounds in the world around us. This level makes up the auditory background of everyday life.

Warning level: Recognizing sounds that alert us to possible dangers. This level alert and prepares us for action.

Symbolic level: Understanding speech. This level informs, educates, and entertains.

Aesthetic level: Appreciating sounds that please us. This level gives us pleasure.

These stages have less to do with the physical aspects of hearing and more about how hearing connects us to the world. Many individuals with hearing problems or hearing loss speak of feeling isolated. As a result, one field of study, called the psychology of deafness, studies humans’ reactions to and coping with hearing loss.

For more information about hearing loss and how it can affect a person’s psychology and interpersonal relationships, contact Orlando Ear, Nose, and Throat to speak with a professional.


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