Diving into the Nature 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. A little while later you realize your partner didn’t do it. When you ask why it didn’t get done, your partner says “I never heard you ask me”. Crazy how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you requested from them. 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 flaw. It’s as if you’re accusing somebody of purposely not listening. But selective hearing could actually be related to untreated hearing loss rather than a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if nobody used that particular name. When you miss all the things you don’t want to hear but hear everything else, that’s selective hearing. You hear the part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. Things like that.

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

It may be tempting to make some assumptions about that (and the way that people are socialized definitely does play into 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 prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will definitely be harder with undiagnosed hearing loss. That’s likely not that surprising.

But one notable indication of hearing loss is communication problems.

When hearing loss is in those very early phases, there won’t be a lot of apparent symptoms. Your tv might get a little louder. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a drink at your local tavern. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you may never even notice how loud everyday sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually deteriorate because of this. Up to the time you’re having problems following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people close to you will most likely be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common aggravation (even more frustrating when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But as it happens more and more often, aggravation may turn to worry.

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. Talk openly with them and accept their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply annoyed with you.

Other early indications of hearing loss

If your selective hearing is getting worse over time, it might be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Here are a few of those signs:

  • Hearing in crowds is challenging
  • People sound far-away or muted when they talk
  • Turning the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants
  • Requesting that people talk slower and speak up

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

Use ear protection

It’s essential that you take steps to safeguard your ears so that you can prevent hearing loss. Limit your exposure to loud settings (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you must be around noise). 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.

In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you might want to take it as an indication that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you start to observe 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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text