No More Background Noise

Transman before T:

Transman has lost one of his superpowers. Before starting testosterone, he had dog hearing–you know the kind: Transman could hear things that were either on a register too high for other humans to pick up or he could hear everything going on around him all at the same time and at the same level. It was kind of maddening. He could hear the refrigerator humming, the lights buzzing, electronics whining at the same volume as conversations taking place. This interfered with his ability to concentrate, but it was handy for hearing children plotting to get up to tricks.

"Children are illogical." Mr. Spock as Transman post-T. Image:

After T, Transman’s ears changed. Not in shape, sadly. No cool pointy Spock ears or anything. The ears only changed in the way they functioned. Suddenly, the great equalizer in his auditory system tuned out the background noises. He could still hear well, but it was focused hearing. On the down side, he doesn’t notice the insidious plotting of his offspring and their cohorts, but on the up side, he also no longer notices the constant bickering of his children. Road trips will be much better from now on. Maybe he shouldn’t think of it as a loss of his superpower, but rather as fine-tuning.

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37 responses to “No More Background Noise

  • pinkagendist

    It’s one of the great advantages of being a man… all you have to do now is learn the 2nd step, which is to pretend you’re listening ;) otherwise you get into trouble.

    • transparentguy

      Thanks to ADD, I already have that part down. I know how to nod along, and make eye contact once in a while, and utter an “uh-huh” or “hmm” to foster the illusion of intent listening.

  • liquorstorebear

    Weird! Is there any literature on this? Did anybody warn you about it beforehand?
    One of my parents has dog-level hearing but oddly it’s my dad.

    • transparentguy

      I haven’t seen it mentioned in any of the books and articles I’ve read. I suspect it’s one of those individual reactions, but there’s also not a long history of transgender medicine–especially for the female-to-male population.

      As long as it doesn’t interfere with my ability to pick out the coolest tunes on the stereo, I don’t mind.

  • saradraws

    You and Le Clown have more in common every day…
    I know all too well the “nod & eye contact” tactic…interesting side effect of testosterone, though.

    • transparentguy

      Transman nods and says, “Uh-huh. Interesting. Hmm.”

    • hollybernabe

      That tactic is one I already use because I have crappy hearing. If there is any background noise whatsoever, it makes it soooo hard for me to keep up in a conversation.

      No, instead of great hearing, I was blessed with a sensitive sniffer. Which sounds cool, since I know when the house is burning down before everybody else, but it isn’t always such a gift. Especially when the husband has been eating cruciferous veggies. Or legumes. Or…

      • transparentguy

        What awful superheroes we would make. No doubt someone in our League of Super Justice would have the power to pee iced tea or something.

      • saradraws

        To be honest, I’m not a great “filterer” either. I lose my concentration pretty easily, though I’ve had my hearing checked, and it’s fine. Seems I just drift off….
        Super smell? That is a mixed blessing.
        ps. Transman:
        I want that superpower!

      • hollybernabe

        The sensitive sniffer thing is truly an annoyance. I can’t handle strong smells. You know those little black sugar ants that invade so many homes? They have a very chemically smell, and I could smell the little pheromone trail they leave behind for their little ant brothers to follow. Perfume/cologne/lotion/etc.–getouttahere. Micah hasn’t been able to wear cologne in 13 years for the most part, since the moment he tries I’m gasping for air and opening windows. And he isn’t even one of those who like to bathe in it! Thank gawd his body odor is pleasant–some guys get that major nasty b.o. funk going after a sweat–he always smells nice, even when he’s super sweaty. That just might be one of the reasons I married him. “Will you marry me?” “ don’t stink and actually have a nice, pleasant scent, even when sweaty. Okay.” LOL.

      • transparentguy

        Love at the chemical level. Cool.

  • susielindau

    I think my husband was born with hearing loss and just now got hearing aids! He takes them out when he comes home from work. Why is that?

  • meizac

    Good gawd, you have no idea how much this explains to me today, as I think, “can the two of you not just be quiet for 3 seconds?” It’s incessant. And J rarely/if ever notices.

    Of course, he’s not hearing, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Papa, Daddy, Papa, Papa….” nearly as much as I’m hearing, “Mommy, Mama, Mama, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mommy….” Would you like to guess how many times they said “Mommy” or “Mama” just while I was writing this comment?

    Maddening, indeed.

  • Ande

    My wife asks me all the time if I can hear that. She’s complaining about some little noise I can’t hear, and I’m usually pretty confused as I can’t hear what’s going on. Thanks to you, I now have a response: “Whatever it is, I can’t hear it over my testosterone.”

  • NC Coot

    Your odyssey is endlessly fascinating. I had no idea of this phenomenon. Truly remarkable reportage in your inimitable way.

  • Ben

    Ooh, how funny, me too….and what’s more worrying, I can no longer multi-task! Aaarrrggggghhhhhh!!

    • transparentguy

      I suspect that mutlti-tasking is simply getting distracted with style. Instead of being complete chaos all the time the mutli-tasker is able to pretend like *everything* is of great importance.

  • americantransman

    I haven’t heard of this phenomenon before regarding T and trans men. It might deserve a post. To clarify, are there two things going on or just one? Did your ability to hear high frequency noises go away AND your brain now filters out the background noise better, or just the latter?

    • transparentguy

      It’s the weirdest thing … I am better able to filter out surrounding noise, but it almost physically feels like my ears are tuning in to things in the front of me, almost like an aural equivalent to losing some of one’s peripheral vision.

  • Alison

    That is cool. I wish I could tune all that stuff out. At times I get overloaded with noise and want to rip my ears off!! Enjoy your roadtrips!

  • Shirley Anne

    I dig it! You are into all the things I hated…LOL Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  • Emmica

    Sounds much more peaceful now : ) Plus it will give your kids a head start to any mischievousness…when I was younger I could only last so long anyway without giggling, giving it away etc because ultimately the fun is in someone recognising your genius plans!

  • Md. Alsanda

    Thanks for passing by and the like :)

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