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. A little bit later you realize your partner didn’t do it. “I Didn’t hear you”, they declare. Crazy how that works, how your partner failed to hear the one thing you requested from them. This “selective hearing” is a common sign that communication is breaking down.

We normally view selective hearing as a negative, sort of like it’s a character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing could actually be related to untreated hearing loss rather than a short attention span.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that particular term. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s helpful to you but conveniently miss the bit that’s negative. You hear the bit about the chocolate cake, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. That sort of thing.

As a behavior, selective hearing is very common. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some studies.

It might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that people 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” starts to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

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

But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication problems.

Symptoms can be very difficult to detect when hearing loss is in the early stages. Perhaps you start cranking the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing conversations. It’s probably because the music is so loud, right? But besides scenarios like that, you may never even observe how loud day-to-day sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually decline because of this. You hardly notice the problem until you’re at the point where you often have trouble hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is worrying your partner

The people close to you will probably be worried. Your family and friends will likely be annoyed when they think you’re deliberately missing what they say. But that frustration often becomes concern when they acknowledge that hearing loss might be the real culprit.

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

Your partner’s worry is significant and it’s important for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply annoyed with you.

Other early signs of hearing loss

If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it might be worth keeping an eye out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. Here are some of those signs:

  • Requesting that people speak slower and talk louder
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Hearing in crowds is difficult
  • Having a tough time making out consonants
  • Turning up the volume on your devices

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

Always safeguard your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. Minimize your exposure to loud settings (or at least use earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by using hearing aids to communicate more effectively.

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for the majority of selective hearing incidents in your life. But when you (or someone around you) observes your selective hearing getting worse, you might want to take that as an indication that it’s time to have your hearing tested.

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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.
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