Diving into the Dynamics of Selective Hearing

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

The only one thing that you asked for was for the trash to be taken out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. When you ask why it didn’t get done, your partner responds “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they wanted done? This “selective hearing” is a normal sign that communication is failing.

This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a sort of character flaw. Accusing someone of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing could actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably had at least one or more situations in your life where someone has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the phrase “selective hearing”. When you miss all the things you don’t want to hear but hear everything else, that’s selective hearing. You hear the part about cooking a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. Things like that.

It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most research points to men failing to hear their partners more often than women.

How individuals are socialized does offer some context and it might be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But the other part of the picture may have something to do with hearing health. If your “selective hearing” begins to become more common, it might be a hint that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will certainly be harder with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re likely not shocked by that.

But one prominent sign of hearing loss is communication problems.

Symptoms can be really hard to notice when hearing loss is in the early phases. Perhaps you begin turning the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing conversations. You most likely just assume it’s because of the loud music. And so, besides that, you could go through most of your day-to-day life without even noticing the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. You hardly notice the problem until you’re at the point where you regularly have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

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

So, your partner may suggest you schedule a hearing exam to determine if something is wrong.

It’s significant to listen to your partner’s concerns. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just aggravated with you.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

You should watch out for 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:

  • Needing to ask people to talk louder or slow down
  • Cranking up the volume on your devices
  • Hearing in crowds is difficult
  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
  • Consonants are hard to make out

You should contact us for a hearing exam if you have any of these symptoms.

Use ear protection

It’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, be certain you wear hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you communicate effectively, which can smooth over many rough patches that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.

A diminishing attention span will be to blame for the majority of selective hearing situations in your life. But you may want to take it as a signal that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin to notice 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.