Diving into 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, unfortunately, it never was accomplished. “I Didn’t hear you”, they say. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? This “selective hearing” is a normal indication that communication is failing.

We often think of selective hearing as a negative, kind of like it’s a character flaw. It’s as if you’re accusing someone of deliberately not listening. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it might be the early stages of hearing loss.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve probably been accused of selective hearing at some point 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 part about the chocolate cake, 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 common in men than women, according to some research.

How individuals are socialized does give some context and it might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But the other part of the situation might have something to do with hearing health. If your “selective hearing” begins to become more common, it might be a clue that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. That’s probably not that surprising.

But one notable indication of hearing loss is communication issues.

Symptoms can be very hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early stages. 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. It’s most likely because the music is so loud, right? 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 lets your hearing slowly (but surely) diminish. You scarcely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you frequently have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

You will notice some of the people in your life are starting to worry. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common annoyance (even more frustrating when you already feel like no one is listening to you). But that frustration often turns to concern when they realize that hearing loss might be the actual culprit.

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

Your partner’s worry is relevant and it’s essential for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just aggravated with you.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it may be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Here are some of those signs:

  • Consonants are hard to make out
  • Hearing in crowds is challenging
  • Having to ask others to speak up or slow down
  • Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call us for a hearing test.

Always safeguard your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. Minimize your exposure to noisy settings (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Any feathers that you may have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more successfully.

In most cases throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as a signal that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin 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.