After all these decades I have answers. So dear Dragon*con friends (and other friends who deal with me in places of non-quiet)- maybe you will forgive me when you have to repeat yourselves 30 times.
I have to admit, I didn't know other people didn't have the problems I have. I thought a lot of my "problems" were normal. I only recently found out that other people don't hear the way I do. How surprising for me! But now that I know what's wrong, I know I can work actively to try and create situations where my issues can be overcome and handled properly. My hopes are that this will create a better hearing life for me. My doctor told me I am working too hard to communicate. I honestly thought everyone worked that hard. I just wanted a hearing aid. But it is far more than my physical ear that is the issue. Who knew.
I drew a little comic to try and explain the problem. It is much more complicated than I can explain, but it should help give you the general idea. Read the description and then read the comic - it makes more sense in that order.