What is the aural version of periphery when used in the context of one's vision?

For example:

I can see it in my periphery

...is to...

I can hear it in my _______?

I prefer a more specific word rather than a phrase like corner of my ear, for example.

I guess I'm looking for a word that describes unintentional eavesdropping - hearing something in the background that you're not actively listening to. When I say periphery, I am not referring to the the degree at the which the sound is entering my ear. I'm referring to the distance away from the sound combined with the loudness of the sound. If it's at the outer limits (periphery), I'm barely going to hear it.

  • @suməlic Corner of my ear sounds very informal compared to periphery. Is there a more specific word rather than a phrase?
    – Ogen
    Nov 22 '16 at 22:14
  • Is this a thing? Something that is very soft because it's far away? Your ears are literally on the side of your head... which means they are already on your periphery... Where is this sound originating? Can you explain more exactly what you're looking for?
    – Catija
    Nov 22 '16 at 22:19
  • @Catija I don't know if it's a thing. I guess I'm kind of looking for a word that describes unintentional eavesdropping - hearing something in the background that you're not actively listening to.
    – Ogen
    Nov 22 '16 at 22:21
  • You should add that to your question as it explains a lot more than the question as it stands. If it were me, I'd say "I inadvertently/accidentally overheard them talking about _____"
    – Catija
    Nov 22 '16 at 22:23
  • Human hearing is 360-degrees. The ears are shaped to preferentially pick up sounds from the front 180 degrees (mainly so that the source of a sound can be better identified), but people can clearly hear what is said behind them if it's sufficiently loud -- there is no "periphery".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 22 '16 at 23:00

I overheard; it was just above my hearing threshold .

Edit: originally I wrote just above my absolute threshold of hearing but decided that was a bit of a mouthful.

The absolute threshold of hearing (ATH) is the minimum sound level of a pure tone that an average human ear with normal hearing can hear with no other sound present. [...]. The absolute threshold is not a discrete point, and is therefore classed as the point at which a sound elicits a response a specified percentage of the time. This is also known as the auditory threshold. — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing

  • FWIW, this does not answer the question as posed, at all. "I can hear it in my hearing threshold"? Makes no sense. But if the OP likes it...
    – Drew
    Nov 23 '16 at 0:46
  • @Ogen you know that you don't have to rush to accept an answer, right? Give it a day... no need to be in a hurry. Something else may come along that you like even better.
    – Catija
    Nov 23 '16 at 2:23
  • @Catija Yeah you're right I'm sorry. I'll keep an eye on this question and see if something better comes along.
    – Ogen
    Nov 23 '16 at 2:31

You can use "in the background", "vaguely", and "distantly" for this:

I could hear it in the background

I could hear it vaguely

I could hear it distantly

"Background noise" or "background conversation" or "background chatter" are also common.

a more or less steady level of noise

"Background" has become more popular than the other two options, according to this ngram.

  • 1
    In the background, yes!
    – Dan
    Nov 22 '16 at 22:41
  • This is good. Similar: in the soundscape. Nov 24 '16 at 3:12

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