The only one thing that you asked for was for the garbage to be taken out. A little while 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”. Why are you not surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? This “selective hearing” is a normal indication that communication is failing.
This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a kind of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing someone of deliberately not listening. But selective hearing may actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if nobody used that particular term. When you miss all the stuff 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. Things like that.
It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. But this behavior is more prevalent 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 equation may 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 sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can create gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can definitely make communication a lot more challenging. That’s likely not that surprising.
But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication issues.
When hearing loss is in those very early stages, there won’t be very many obvious symptoms. Your tv might get a little louder. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you stop for a drink at your local pub. You probably just assume it’s because of the loud music. And so, besides that, you could go through most of your daily life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) deteriorate. You barely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you regularly have difficulty hearing conversations.
Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing
You will notice some of the people in your life are beginning to be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more aggravating when you already feel like no one listens to you). But as it happens more and more often, aggravation might turn to concern.
So, your partner may suggest you schedule a hearing test to determine if something is wrong.
Your partner’s worry is relevant and it’s essential for you to acknowledge that. Have an open discussion with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just annoyed with you.
Early hearing loss has a few other signs
If your selective hearing is getting worse over time, it may be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Here are some of those signs:
- Needing to ask others to speak up or slow down
- Cranking the volume up on your mobile phone, television, or radio
- People sound far-away or muffled when they speak
- Difficulty hearing in crowds
- Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants
You should contact us for a hearing test if you have any of these symptoms.
Always protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, be certain that you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more successfully.
In most cases throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you might want to take it as a sign that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.