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

The only one thing that you asked for was for the garbage to be taken out. But, unfortunately, it never was accomplished. “I Didn’t hear you”, they say. Crazy how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you requested from them. The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of failed communication.

We have the tendency to view selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character defect. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it may be the early stages of hearing loss.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve most likely 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 bit about the chocolate cake, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. Things like that.

It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most studies point to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How individuals are socialized does give 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. If your “selective hearing” begins to become more common, it might be a hint that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Hearing loss can create gaps in communication

Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re likely not shocked by that.

But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are a sign of hearing loss.

Symptoms can be really hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early stages. 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 likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides situations like that, you may never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) deteriorate. You barely notice the problem until you’re at the point where you frequently have trouble hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming worried about the health of your hearing

The people around you will most likely be worried. Yes, selective hearing is a relatively common annoyance (even more annoying when you already feel as if nobody listens to you). But that aggravation often becomes worry when they acknowledge that hearing loss may be the actual culprit.

So, your partner may suggest you set up a hearing exam to determine if something is wrong.

Your partner’s worry is significant and it’s important for you to recognize that. Have an open conversation and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just annoyance.

Early hearing loss has a few other signs

If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it might be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Here are some of those signs:

  • Cranking the volume up on your devices
  • Trouble hearing in crowds
  • People sound distant or muffled when they speak
  • Requesting that people talk slower and speak up
  • Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants

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

Always safeguard your hearing

Protecting your hearing is so essential 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 may have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more successfully.

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for most selective hearing incidents in your life. But you may want to take it as an indication that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you start to observe your selective hearing getting worse.

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