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 garbage to be taken out. A little bit later you realize your partner didn’t do it. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of poor communication.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing someone of deliberately not listening. But it’s possible that the actual culprit behind your selective hearing may not be a short attention span, it may be the early phases of hearing loss.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve likely had at least one or more scenarios in your life where somebody has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the term “selective hearing”. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s beneficial to you but conveniently miss the bit that’s negative. You hear the part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. That kind of thing.

As a behavior, selective hearing is very common. However, most research points to men failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How people are socialized does provide some context and it may be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But hearing health is likely another major factor. If your “selective hearing” begins to become more common, it might be an indication 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 one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication problems.

When hearing loss is in those really early phases, there won’t be a lot of obvious symptoms. Maybe you begin cranking the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing what people are saying. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. And so, other than that, you could go through the majority of your daily life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can gradually decline because of this. You scarcely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you regularly have trouble hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is worrying your partner

The people close to you will most likely be concerned. Your friends and family will most likely be annoyed when they think you’re deliberately missing what they say. But that frustration often turns to worry when they realize that hearing loss could be the actual culprit.

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 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 speak up
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • People sound distant or muffled when they talk
  • Having a hard time distinguishing consonants

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

Always safeguard your hearing

It’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. Limit your exposure to noisy environments (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you must be around noise). Any feathers that you may have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by using hearing aids to communicate more successfully.

In most circumstances 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 a sign that it’s time to get your hearing tested.

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.