Is the use of 'sentirci' restricted to the physical ability of the listener?

For instance, you can say:

Non ci sento più da un orecchio. (A loss of physical ability.)

but could you also say:

Hai sentito la musica per la strada ieri sera?

No, veramente non ci sento niente da casa mia. (Inability to hear because of proximity to noise.)

  • 3
    Sorry, but I am not sure about your “musica in fortezza” example. Are you aware that in modern Italian “fortezza” means almost exclusively “fortress”? (In philosophical or religious contexts, it may refer to “fortitude”.) Did you mean “too loud music”? Something else? Or actually a concert held in a fort or castle (it happens, in several parts of Italy)?
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 20:32
  • Like a concert held in a fortezza. The example probably doesn't make sense without the context.
    – gbutters
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 22:38
  • I'll change it.
    – gbutters
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 22:40
  • Hmm.. I won't say that it's wrong but at least to me this form is highly unusual. To me sentirci is related to the physical capability of hearing (as in "my ears are working properly", not "there's no barrier between me and the sound")
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 23:12
  • 2
    On second thought I think that the problem is that sentirci doesn't support an object (in your case niente). Da casa mia non ci sento is still strange, but less so.
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


There is not a strict rule, but in general the expression sentirci refers to the ability of the auditory system, so if you say:

Non ci sento

Ci sento molto bene

Non ci sento da un orecchio

It is clear that you are speaking about your auditory ability.

If you are referring to external problems that affect your capability to hear, you'd better use sentire

Non ti sento, c'è troppo rumore

Non sento nient'altro che la musica, tanto è forte.

Tu mi parli ma io non ti sento, il telefono non funziona.

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