Diving into the Dynamics of Selective Hearing

Wife is annoyed by husband who appears to have selective hearing.

You asked for help with one basic chore: take the trash out. But, regrettably, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? This “selective hearing” is a common indication that communication is breaking down.

We tend to view selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character defect. Accusing someone of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the real 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 had at least one or more situations in your life where somebody has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the term “selective hearing”. When you miss all the things 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 don’t hear the part about the calories. That sort of thing.

It’s really 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 may be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But hearing health is likely another major aspect. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it could 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. You’re probably not surprised by that.

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

When hearing loss is in those really early stages, there aren’t going to be a lot of noticeable symptoms. Your tv might get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. You probably just assume it’s because of the loud music. But besides situations like that, you might never even notice how loud day-to-day sounds can be. This lets your hearing gradually deteriorate. You hardly notice the problem 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 probably be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common annoyance (even more annoying when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But that aggravation often becomes worry when they realize that hearing loss may 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 important to listen to your partner’s concerns. Have an open conversation and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just annoyance.

Other early signs of hearing loss

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

  • Needing to ask others to speak up or slow down
  • Having a tough time distinguishing consonants
  • Hearing in crowds is challenging
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Turning the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio

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

Always protect your hearing

It’s critical that you take measures to protect your ears so that you can prevent hearing loss. Reduce 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 effectively.

In most circumstances throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But when you (or someone around you) notices your selective hearing becoming worse, you might want to take that as a sign that it’s time to get your hearing assessed.

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.

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