Takes a second to process... words?

I’ll get straight to the point here.

I have this weird thing where someone says something, usually a question, for example; “do you want anymore pasta?” At first it just sounds like this; “oduoy younmossoa somta?” Complete nonsense! Then I say “excuse me” or “pardon” and then it replays in my head. I don’t think of it, or physically force myself to replay the memory, it just does! Them it comes out normal. I say; “Oh! Yes, sorry.” And then they look at me like I’m a complete utter weirdo. Is that just me or any of you guys too?



One of my favorite processing fails is when I was working in a restaurant and I was in the walk-in, and one of my coworkers came in and said something and it sounded EXACTLY like just a high pitched “bwiing!” sound effect. Not even human speech. So I was like “sorry, what?” and she said, “bwiing!” again. I just stood there for several seconds, long enough for it to be awkward, before she turned back and looked at me again and I just smiled and left the walk in and only AFTER realized that she had (probably) said “How are you doing?”

Anyway, I’ve been worried I have an auditory processing disorder, but I don’t know. I was talking to someone recently who has autism and ze has these headphones with active noise canceling that helps zir hear better by playing a soundwave that cancels out the background noise so ze can hear conversation. I’ve been thinking about getting those.

I’d love to hear from others if this is an ADHD thing.


I experience that, too. Also occasionally situations where my brain tries to replay it but only got part of the info and can’t do it. I use the word “parse” for this: “it took me a minute to parse that” or, “sorry, I didn’t parse that”.


I cracked up at @belldam’s “bwiing” example, very much relate to that :rofl:


Yeah that happens to me sometimes

Yep before diagnosis my wife used to get super mad at me because she would ask a question and i would ask her to repeat it and then answer the question almost in the same sentence. Something to do with being inattentive i suppose. But i do it a whole lot less with meds. And now she just makes sure she has my attention for a couple of seconds before asking a question for example she will say “Honey” wait 3.2.1 “can you pass the salt. “ Just gives me those couple of seconds i need to shift focus.


1 Like

Me too. I do that LOTS. I just thought I had finally blown out my ears from listening to my music so loud in my headphones like my grandma said :laughing::grin:

1 Like

All the time. I think it has something to do with realising “you talking to me?”, and then getting all systems started and connected :grin:


YES! It’s very much like “oh sound is happening” > “wait sound is words” > “words are for me” > start listening too late, hear gibberish


I definitely relate to this too!! It was one of the first things I noticed that made me suspect there could be something a bit different about me, when I realised that most people don’t ask others to repeat every question before being able to answer… :smile:

And like @lilnickiwonder said, I also often worry about my hearing… It’s so difficult to tell sometimes if I’m actually going deaf or if I just need the processing time! :smiley:

1 Like

I have a slow processing speed. As far as I understand it’s a seperate thing to ADHD, but often comorbid. You can get tested by going to an audiologist.

Hope this helps!

Here someone too!

All the friggin time. I am also always that one person that Laughs a minute after everyone else laughed. Then someone tells a joke. Everyone laughs. And then they continue talking. As I listen to them the joke starts to proces. So then one minute later I finally get it. So then I randomly start laughing, and then I get weird stares from everybody. It’s embarrassing but funny at the same time :joy::joy::joy:

1 Like

Me too! I’ve noticed a processing issue among a lot of folks with ADHD present this way, and I think it has some relation to a lot of ADHD’ers having a similar issue reading (Read the same paragraph 4 times and still have no clue what you read? Me too!) not all hope is lost though here are some ways I’ve coped with it!

  1. Meds! If you have them and they work, take them! It doesn’t solve all the problems but it definitely puts glasses on your brain and takes some of the fuzzy distractions away when you’re being spoken to. it can allow your brain to catch up to your ears a bit so you’re not so far behind the curve on understanding what was said.

  2. Ear training! I know it sounds a little silly, but I’ve been doing it and it’s helped me out IMMENSELY. If you have Audible or something similar, pick a book that you know is likely to still be interesting but not exactly engaging (I love Star Wars but I don’t usually have the intent on reading any books about it… til now. Lifestyle books (AKA Self-help books) are a great option as well.

Here’s the trick: Take that book, put ear phones in to cancel out surrounding noise (We all know this is a huge deal to easily distracted minds) now adjust the speed of the narration to as fast as you can (until you are still able to make out sentences, but barely) What I’ve noticed with myself is that my ears naturally zero in on the clash of noise and tries picking it apart (like I do with distracting ambient sound) only it winds up making sense because it’s just one person reading. My brain naturally speeds up to make out the individual words and comprehend the story line. Once you get comfortable listening at a certain speed, turn up the speed a little bit more. I’ve been doing it every day and find I’m quicker to catch fast comments and questions than I ever have been! It becomes almost a game!

  1. Honesty. Yes, it may be hard to do at first, but people typically do understand when you do the, “Huh? Oh whoops sorry!” thing when you tell them, “Hey, I wanted to let you know I’m listening to you and paying attention, I just have issues processing spoken words in real time sometimes.” Having a reason typically eases people off of being offended and more understanding and if they aren’t, who needs 'em?

I hope some of this advice helps! You’re not alone! Even neurotypical folks do it too!

1 Like