Alright, so here's the thing. If you asked my parents or my girlfriend or any foreigner I've ever talked to, they would say that I'm terrible at listening. I can listen to people's problems and be there if someone needs me to listen, but if someone's talking directly to me I can't do it. So where does this come into gaming?
Perhaps this audio best describes what I want to say (use headphones):
Well, back in Sixth Form, some friends and I started to play Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and other FPS games in a LAN with some people in the year above. I got really competitive and started beating people who had played the game and others for years. Beginner's luck.
I got Quake 3 Gold for Christmas or something shortly after and went online with it. After a while my Mum got wound up by the sound of gunshots and all the other noise in Quake, so I plugged some headphones in. Here is where my 'expertise' begins.
I played Quake online until I got reasonably good at it, and I realise that headphones were probably the secret to my success instead of any actual skill. I could just HEAR where the noise was coming from and move and shoot accordingly. Later, on the Quake 3 mod "Urban Terror" the general ambient noises were much quieter, as were the gunshots etc. When going one on one or one on many, listening really helped. I could hear them coming, and it was as if they were actually behind me in the room. So I turned accordingly and prepared ambushes. Even if I only got one or two of the remaining team, I was satisfied as I'd done better than I expected.
Left 4 Dead is another example of where my 'expertise' came into play. According to my Aunt who is certain I'm deaf, I've trained my ears so that they hear little noises loudly and vice versa. A pain in real life, but kind of helpful in gaming. On Left 4 Dead, determining which audio cues could be heard, even when quieter or with the mix of gunshots and groans, I could get the general direction of a witch or the incoming tank before my teammates had heard anything (this being on Xbox as opposed to PC with headphones on at the time).
It's seemingly all about direction and hearing things correctly, but this little ability thing can be useful, if only in FPS games. Which is ok, as I like FPS games.
In real life, I can sort of home in on people talking, and block out most other sound, I could hear part of a conversation in a noisy restaurant, upon which I'd say to whoever I was with something along the lines of "she's speaking French" or something uninteresting like that.
Two side effects of this reasonably useful ability: immersion in my games has led me to have subconscious conversations of which I have no recollection; and slight paranoia - hearing noises and thinking people had said something.
Oh, and of course, there's "Gamer's Tourettes".