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

You asked for help with one basic task: 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 failed to hear the one thing they wanted done? The popular term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of failed communication.

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

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if no one used that particular term. 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 bit about the chocolate cake, but you miss the part about the calories. Things like that.

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 people are socialized does offer 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. 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 certainly be harder with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re most likely not shocked by that.

But one prominent sign of hearing loss is communication problems.

When hearing loss is in those really early stages, there aren’t going to be very many apparent symptoms. Perhaps you begin turning the volume up on your tv. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you stop for a drink at your local pub. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you might never even notice how loud everyday sounds can be. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. You barely notice the problem until you’re at the point where you frequently have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people around you will most likely be worried. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more frustrating when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But that aggravation often becomes worry when they acknowledge that hearing loss might be the actual culprit.

And your partner may want you to find out what’s going on by having you schedule a hearing test.

Your partner’s concern is relevant and it’s essential for you to recognize that. Have an open discussion and consider that they are coming from a place of caring and not just aggravation.

Other early indications 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. Some of those signs include:

  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
  • Consonants are hard to distinguish
  • Needing to ask people to talk louder or slow down
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • Turning up the volume on your devices

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

Always safeguard your hearing

It’s critical that you take steps to protect your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. Minimize your exposure to loud settings (or at least use 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 successfully.

A diminishing attention span will be to blame for the majority of selective hearing incidents 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 begin to notice your selective hearing getting worse.

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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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