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, regrettably, it never was accomplished. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner replies “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they wanted done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of failing communication.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a kind of character defect. It’s as if you’re accusing someone of purposely not listening. But selective hearing might actually be related to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that particular term. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s helpful to you but conveniently miss the part that’s negative. You hear the bit about the chocolate cake, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. That kind of thing.

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 make some assumptions about that (and the way that people are socialized certainly does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). But the other part of the situation may have something to do with hearing health. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can produce gaps in communication

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

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

When hearing loss is in those really early phases, there aren’t going to be a lot of noticeable symptoms. Perhaps you start cranking the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. You probably just assume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you may never even observe how loud everyday sounds can be. This lets your hearing gradually diminish. You barely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you often have trouble hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

You will notice some of the people close to you are beginning to worry. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more annoying when you already feel like nobody is listening to you). But that aggravation often becomes concern when they realize that hearing loss may be the real culprit.

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

Your partner’s worry is significant and it’s essential for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply annoyed with you.

Other early signs of hearing loss

You should watch out for some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing seems to be getting worse. A few of those signs include:

  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • Needing to ask people to speak up or slow down
  • Consonants are hard to make out
  • Turning the volume up on your devices
  • People sound distant or muffled when they talk

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

Always protect your hearing

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

In most cases throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But when you (or somebody around you) notices your selective hearing becoming worse, you may want to take that as an indication that it’s time to have your hearing checked.

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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.