Hearing Solutions - Yukon, OK

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

You asked for help with one simple task: take out the trash. A little bit later you realize your partner failed to do it. When you ask why it didn’t get done, your partner says “I never heard you ask me”. Funny how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you asked them to do. The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of poor communication.

We normally think of selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual cause 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 probably been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that specific name. Selective hearing occurs 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 ice cream, but you miss the part about the calories. That kind of thing.

It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most research points to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How individuals are socialized does offer some context and it might be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But the other part of the equation may have something to do with hearing health. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Undiagnosed hearing loss can definitely make communication a great deal more difficult. That’s likely not that shocking.

But one prominent sign of hearing loss is communication issues.

Symptoms can be very hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early phases. Maybe you begin turning the volume up on your tv. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing conversations. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you may never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) diminish. You barely notice the problem until you’re at the point where you often have trouble hearing conversations.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

The people close to you will most likely be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common irritation (even more aggravating when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But that frustration often becomes concern when they acknowledge 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. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just 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 some of those signs:

  • Consonants are hard to distinguish
  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
  • Hearing in crowds is difficult
  • Having to ask others to speak up or slow down
  • Cranking up the volume on your devices

You should call us for a hearing test if you have any of these symptoms.

Use ear protection

Protecting your hearing is so crucial to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be sure you wear hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Any feathers that you may have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more effectively.

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for the majority of selective hearing situations in your life. But when you (or someone around you) notices your selective hearing getting worse, you may want to take that as a sign that it’s time to have your hearing checked.

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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.