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. A little bit later you realize your partner failed to do it. When you ask why it didn’t get done, your partner responds “I never heard you ask me”. Crazy how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you requested from them. This “selective hearing” is a common indication that communication is breaking down.

This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a sort of character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing might actually be related to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably had at least one or more scenarios 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 part about cooking a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. That sort of thing.

It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some studies.

It may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that people are socialized certainly does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). But the other part of the picture 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 indication of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause gaps in communication

Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re 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 a lot of apparent symptoms. Your tv may get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. It’s most likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides scenarios like that, you may never even observe how loud daily sounds can be. This allows your hearing to gradually decline. You barely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you often have difficulty hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people around you will probably be concerned. Your family and friends will most likely be irritated when they think you’re deliberately missing what they say. But as it turns out more and more frequently, irritation might turn to concern.

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 acknowledge 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 signs of hearing loss. Here are a few of those signs:

  • Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants
  • People sound distant or muffled when they speak
  • Requesting that people speak slower and speak up
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • 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

Protecting your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, be certain that you wear hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you have more effective communication, which can smooth over many rough patches that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.

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 a signal 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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