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 garbage to be taken out. A little bit later you realize your partner didn’t do it. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner responds “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they needed done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of poor 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 could actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve probably been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if nobody used that particular term. When you miss all the stuff you don’t want to hear but hear everything else, that’s selective hearing. You hear the part about the chocolate ice cream, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. Things like that.

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

It may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that individuals are socialized certainly does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). But the other part of the situation might have something to do with hearing health. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it could 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 most likely not shocked by that.

But one notable indication of hearing loss is communication issues.

When hearing loss is in those really early phases, there aren’t going to be a lot of noticeable symptoms. Perhaps you start turning the volume up on your tv. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. It’s likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides scenarios like that, you might never even observe how loud everyday sounds can be. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. You barely notice the problem until you’re at the point where you often have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is worrying your partner

The people around you will most likely be concerned. Your family and friends will probably be frustrated when they think you’re intentionally missing what they say. But as it happens more and more frequently, aggravation may turn to concern.

So, your partner might recommend you set up a hearing test to determine if something is wrong.

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

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. Here are some of those signs:

  • Requesting that people speak slower and talk louder
  • Consonants are hard to distinguish
  • People sound far-away or muted when they talk
  • Cranking up the volume on your devices
  • Trouble hearing in crowds

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.

Always protect your hearing

Protecting your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, be certain that you wear 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.

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for the majority of selective hearing situations in your life. But you might want to take it as an indication that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you start 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.


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