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, regrettably, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Funny how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you asked them to do. This “selective hearing” is a common indication that communication is failing.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a kind of character flaw. Accusing someone of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing may not be a short attention span, it might be the early stages of hearing loss.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if no one used that specific name. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s useful to you but conveniently miss the part that’s negative. You hear the part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. Things like that.

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

It might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that individuals are socialized definitely 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. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause gaps in communication

Undiagnosed hearing loss can certainly make communication a lot more challenging. You’re likely not shocked by that.

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

When hearing loss is in those very early stages, there aren’t going to be very many apparent symptoms. Maybe you begin turning the volume on your tv up. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you stop for a drink at your local bar. You most likely just assume it’s because of the loud music. And so, other than that, you could go through most of your day-to-day life without even noticing the volume of the world around you. This allows your hearing to gradually decline. You scarcely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you often have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming worried about the health of your hearing

You will notice some of the people in your life are starting to worry. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common aggravation (even more irritating when you already feel like nobody listens to you). But as it happens more and more frequently, irritation may turn to concern.

So, your partner might suggest you schedule a hearing test to determine if something is wrong.

It’s significant to listen to your partner’s concerns. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply irritated with you.

Other early indications of hearing loss

You should be aware of some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing appears to be getting worse. Some of those signs include:

  • Requesting that people talk slower and talk louder
  • Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • Having a hard time making out consonants
  • People sound distant or muffled when they speak
  • Hearing in crowds is difficult

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

Wear ear protection

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

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for most selective hearing situations in your life. But you might want to take it as an indication that it’s time for 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.