The only one thing that you requested was for the trash to be taken out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they declare. Funny how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you requested from them. This “selective hearing” is a common sign that communication is failing.
This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing may actually be related to untreated hearing loss rather than a short attention span.
What is selective hearing?
You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if no one used that particular name. 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 very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most studies point to males failing to hear their partners more often than women.
How individuals are socialized does offer some context and it might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But the other part of the equation might have something to do with hearing health. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it might be a clue that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.
Communication can be impacted by hearing loss
Communication will undoubtedly be harder with undiagnosed hearing loss. That’s most likely not that shocking.
But here’s the thing: in many cases, communication issues are an indication of hearing loss.
Symptoms can be really hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early phases. Perhaps you start cranking the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing conversations. It’s most likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides scenarios like that, you might never even observe how loud day-to-day sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually decline because of this. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.
Your hearing health is worrying your partner
You will notice some of the people in your life are starting to worry. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common irritation (even more frustrating when you already feel like no one listens to you). But as it happens more and more frequently, aggravation might turn to worry.
So, your partner may suggest you schedule a hearing exam to find out if something is wrong.
Your partner’s worry is relevant and it’s important for you to recognize that. Have an open discussion and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just aggravation.
Other early signs of hearing loss
If your selective hearing has become 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:
- People sound far-away or muted when they talk
- Consonants are hard to make out
- Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
- Hearing in crowds is difficult
- Having to ask others to speak up or slow down
You should contact us for a hearing test if you experience 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, make sure you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. 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 will be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as a sign that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.