Diving into the Nature 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. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why are you not surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? The popular term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of poor communication.

We tend to think of selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character defect. It’s like you’re accusing somebody of deliberately not listening. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing may not be a short attention span, it may be the early stages of hearing loss.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if no one used that specific term. 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 miss the part about the calories. Things like that.

It’s extremely common for people to have selective hearing behavior. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some studies.

How people are socialized does offer some context and it might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But the other part of the picture might 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

Undiagnosed hearing loss can certainly make communication a lot more challenging. That’s probably not that shocking.

But one prominent sign of hearing loss is communication problems.

Symptoms can be really difficult to notice when hearing loss is in the early stages. Your tv might get a bit louder. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a drink at your local tavern. 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. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) diminish. You barely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you frequently have trouble hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people close to you will likely be worried. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more frustrating when you already feel like nobody is listening to you). But as it happens more and more frequently, aggravation may turn to worry.

So, your partner might recommend you set up a hearing exam to find out if something is wrong.

It’s significant to listen to your partner’s concerns. Have an open discussion and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just annoyance.

Early hearing loss has a few other signs

You should be aware of 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
  • Trouble hearing in crowds
  • Cranking the volume up on your devices
  • People sound distant or muffled when they speak
  • Having a difficult time making out consonants

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

Wear ear protection

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

In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a waning attention span. But when you (or somebody around you) notices your selective hearing getting worse, you may want to take that as a sign that it’s time to have your hearing assessed.

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.