The only one thing that you asked for was for the garbage 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 responds “I never heard you ask me”. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? This “selective hearing” is a normal indication that communication is breaking down.
This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character defect. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual culprit behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it may be the early phases of hearing loss.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve likely been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if nobody 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 part about the chocolate ice cream, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. That kind of thing.
It’s really common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most research points to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.
How people are socialized does give some context and it may be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But the other part of the picture may have something to do with hearing health. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can produce gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can certainly make communication much more challenging. You’re probably not shocked by that.
But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication problems.
Symptoms can be very difficult to detect when hearing loss is in the early stages. Perhaps you start 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 most likely just assume it’s because of the loud music. And so, other than that, you could go through the majority of your day-to-day life without even noticing the volume of the world around you. This lets your hearing slowly (but surely) deteriorate. Up to the time you’re having problems following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.
Your partner is becoming worried about the health of your hearing
The people close to you will likely be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common irritation (even more irritating when you already feel as if no one is listening to you). But that aggravation often turns to worry when they recognize that hearing loss might 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 significant to listen to your partner’s concerns. Talk openly with them and accept their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply annoyed with you.
Other early signs of hearing loss
If your selective hearing is getting worse over time, it might be worth watching out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. Here are a few of those signs:
- Needing to ask others to talk louder or slow down
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
- Trouble hearing in crowds
- Having a difficult time making out consonants
- Cranking the volume up on your devices
You should call us for a hearing exam if you have any of these symptoms.
Wear ear protection
It’s essential that you take measures to protect your ears so that you can prevent hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be certain you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you have more effective communication, which can smooth over many rough spots that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.
A diminishing attention span will be responsible for the majority of selective hearing incidents in your life. But you might want to take it as a signal that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you start to notice your selective hearing getting worse.