We have all seen it before, whether it be on television, movies, or cartoons. That moment when someone is so focused that all background noise ceases to exist as the character focuses on.. whatever. A secret note that is going to lead Johnny Adventure to the treasure of a lifetime. Catherine focuses on the hospital machine that goes BING, praying for her sister to wake from the coma.
In the modern era, this effect, which likely has some sort of official name, probably happens most when a person becomes absorbed in whatever is on display on the 5.5″ screen of their mobile device. I know this to be true, because it happened to me. It was the weirdest sensation when I became conscious of it. I was reading another Trump news article (is there any other news, really), sitting silently in a local food court as the hustle, bustle, and conversations were completely muted behind me. I looked up and the titlewave of sound swished around my brain. The world was alive again as I brought my eyes up from the blue hue of the touchscreen.
The experience was a bit enlightening, and gave me new understanding as to how people are more prone to being hit by cars when using their devices. It does make me curious as to what will happen when augmented reality is in full swing.