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What Spock had discovered upon entering Starfleet Academy was that something, perhaps his Human heritage from his mother, made him particularly sensitive to the Human minds around him. Other species were no louder to him than they were to any other Vulcan - it was only the Human minds that drew his mental ear. It was an asset when he chose to extend his sense deliberately; it was not too great a hindrance the rest of the time, and it did provide ample incentive to keep up his mental disciplines.
goes with triangulation 'verse