Delving into the Dynamics of Selective Hearing

Wife is annoyed by husband who appears to have selective hearing.

You asked for help with one basic task: take the trash out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they declare. Crazy how that works, how your partner failed to hear the one thing you requested from them. This “selective hearing” is a common indication that communication is failing.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character defect. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it might be the early phases of hearing loss.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve probably had at least one or more situations in your life where somebody has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the term “selective hearing”. When you miss all the stuff you don’t want to hear but hear everything else, that’s selective hearing. You hear the bit about the chocolate cake, but you miss the part about the calories. Things like that.

It’s extremely common for people to have selective hearing behavior. But this behavior is more common in men than women, according to some studies.

It may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that individuals are socialized definitely does play into how this behavior is contextualized). But hearing health is probably another major aspect. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it might be an indication that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Hearing loss can create gaps in communication

Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. That’s most likely not that surprising.

But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are a sign of hearing loss.

When hearing loss is in those very early stages, there aren’t going to be very many noticeable symptoms. Your tv might get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. But besides situations like that, you might never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people close to you will most likely be worried. Your family and friends will probably be frustrated when they think you’re deliberately ignoring what they say. But as it turns out more and more often, aggravation might turn to worry.

And your partner may want you to find out what’s going on by having you schedule a hearing test.

It’s significant to listen to your partner’s concerns. Have an open conversation and consider that they are coming from a place of caring and not just annoyance.

Other early signs of hearing loss

You should be aware of some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing seems to be getting worse. Here are a few of those signs:

  • Requesting that people speak slower and talk louder
  • Consonants are hard to make out
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
  • Turning the volume up on your devices

You should call us for a hearing test if you have any of these symptoms.

Wear ear protection

Safeguarding your hearing is so essential to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be sure you wear hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by using hearing aids to communicate more successfully.

In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing will be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as a sign that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.