The Dynamics of Selective Hearing

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

The only one thing that you requested was for the garbage to be taken out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why are you not surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they needed done? This “selective hearing” is a common indication that communication is failing.

This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a kind of character defect. It’s like you’re accusing someone of deliberately not listening. But it’s possible that the real cause behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it might be the early phases of hearing loss.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably had at least one or more scenarios in your life where someone 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 ice cream, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. Things like that.

As a behavior, selective hearing is incredibly common. However, most studies point to men failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How people are socialized does give 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 clue that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re likely not shocked by that.

But here’s the thing: in many cases, communication problems are an indication of hearing loss.

When hearing loss is in those really early stages, there aren’t going to be very many noticeable symptoms. Maybe you begin turning the volume up on your tv. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a beverage at your local tavern. It’s most likely because the music is so loud, right? And so, besides that, you could go through the majority of your day-to-day life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having trouble following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

You will notice some of the people in your life are starting to be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common annoyance (even more aggravating when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But as it turns out more and more often, aggravation might turn to concern.

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

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

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it may be worth watching out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. A few of those signs include:

  • Hearing in crowds is challenging
  • People sound distant or muted when they speak
  • Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • Requesting that people talk slower and talk louder
  • Having a tough time distinguishing consonants

You should contact us for a hearing test if you experience any of these symptoms.

Always protect your hearing

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

In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as an indication 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.