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

The only one thing that you requested was for the trash to be taken out. A little bit later you discover your partner failed to do it. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner replies “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? This “selective hearing” is a common sign that communication is failing.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a kind of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing someone of purposely not listening. But selective hearing may actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve likely had at least one or more scenarios in your life where someone has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the phrase “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 bit about the chocolate ice cream, but you miss the part about the calories. That sort of thing.

As a behavior, selective hearing is very common. However, most studies point to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How people are socialized does give some context and it might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is probably another major factor. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication a great deal more difficult. You’re likely not surprised by that.

But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication problems.

Symptoms can be very hard to notice when hearing loss is in the early stages. Maybe you begin cranking the volume up on your tv. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing what people are saying. You probably just assume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you may never even notice how loud everyday sounds can be. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

The people close to you will probably be worried. Yes, selective hearing is a fairly common irritation (even more irritating when you already feel as if no one listens to you). But as it happens more and more often, aggravation might turn to concern.

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. Have an open discussion with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply aggravated with you.

Other early indications of hearing loss

You should be aware of some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing appears to be getting worse. Some of those signs include:

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

If you have any of these symptoms, you should call us for a hearing test.

Use ear protection

It’s critical that you take steps to safeguard your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. Reduce your exposure to noisy environments (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Hearing aids can also help you have more effective communication, which can smooth over many rough patches that your hearing loss might have caused in the first place.

In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a waning attention span. But when you (or somebody around you) observes your selective hearing getting worse, you may want to take that as an indication that it’s time to have your hearing assessed.

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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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