So I have a couple points to make Mitchell and Steve.
1. Beach hunting is way way easy. Most items of worth on the beach that we dig are big and loud, they are made of some of the best sound generating materials; their shape also helps to sound off. Plus, as you stated Mitchell, the ground is far more conducive to hearing a solid target. This being all very obvious too us as a group, there is a skill set to locating hot spots and grid hunting. You seem to have that solid.
2. Steve is correct about the approach he takes. I would counter that this approach is not always the best first approach however.
Let's take a look at an example. You have a desert wash that has gold from top to bottom, 2 foot ball fields long and 4 feet wide. Most of this wash only has a few inches of overburden. This wash has nuggets in many sizes, from .10 gram to 5 gram with many in the 1.5 gram range.
The draw back to Steve's approach which is not wrong, is that it leaves all those BOOMERS sitting there waiting to be picked off by someone that does a quick scan. Steve will clear the whole wash in one pass correct, leaving nothing behind; but it could take weeks to do that. But he might also lose those wonderful big ones to someone else. I take a different approach to patches at the start.
I would, in the example above be moving in patch hunt speed. Which means cover blue sky ground at a med speed. Looking for a Nug or clear signs that one should be present. Once I hit a Nug I drop down to search speed, which is a slow/med speed, doing 10 foot circles at clear speed (slow) around each nug found. It would let me clear the wash from top to bottom getting the boomers and giving me a solid picture of the whole patch. After the above is done, ergo easy pickings cleared. I then switch to Steve's slow grid approach. That is when I start clearing all those hard to hear .10 gram Nugs. Starting at the bottom and working to the top of the wash.
It comes down to mining math= Ground covered is gold earned and questions answered. Both are equally valuable. As they both help you find gold.
I call my clearing style on a patch the onion approach= clearing layers.
Best part of this hobby is there is not many truly wrong ways to hunt. If you are in gold areas and your coil is touching the ground, not waving in the air. Then you are detecting in a way that will find gold. Other styles net more and some net less.
An old miner told me once, that he only has so many ups and downs in a day and he spends them wisely. Sound advise.
I would offer you this advise Mitchell. Get a hearing test done as part of a medical check up. When you do the test don't guess at the sounds, only mark ones you are very sure you hear. Get a detail break down of that test. It will tell you what frequency you hear best at. Then set your Zed target noise to that frequency level. This might help you tune into those faint noises. This would ensure your unit is set to your precise needs. Happy hunting.