I live in a flat. Despite the loud volume from the television set in my home, I've learnt to pick up the vibrations of the piano if the piano is nearby me. It isn't that difficult, afterall, I have a piano at home too (though I qualify that I don't play the piano).
Actually, it isn't anything new to be able to perceive sounds in terms of vibrations. I am definitely not a master in it, but I have read of people who hear by perceiving vibrations.
Evelyn Glennie's website gives an interesting perspective to hearing. Let me quote one section that intrigues me:
Hearing is basically a specialized form of touch. Sound is simply vibrating air which the ear picks up and converts to electrical signals, which are then interpreted by the brain. The sense of hearing is not the only sense that can do this, touch can do this too. If you are standing by the road and a large truck goes by, do you hear or feel the vibration? The answer is both. With very low frequency vibration the ear starts becoming inefficient and the rest of the body's sense of touch starts to take over. For some reason we tend to make a distinction between hearing a sound and feeling a vibration, in reality they are the same thing. It is interesting to note that in the Italian language this distinction does not exist. The verb 'sentire' means to hear and the same verb in the reflexive form 'sentirsi' means to feel. Deafness does not mean that you can't hear, only that there is something wrong with the ears. Even someone who is totally deaf can still hear/feel sounds.
The quotation suggests that it is possible to perceive a sound without having to hear it.
If the television set at my home is switched off, I can actually hear the sounds of the piano. But I don't have to physically hear it clearly to know that the piano is being played.
Anyway, pardon my ramblings. I am just trying to suggest how unbearable it can be, at times, to live in a world whereby the people living with me think that they can only hear what is on the television programme if the television set is turned to volume level 20. For goodness sake, I find volume level 15 uncomfortable for my senses already! It is not just the sounds, it is the disturbances felt from the vibrations on my ear-drums!
I would rather listen to the sounds of the piano from the unit above than to the sounds of the television set from my own unit.