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, regrettably, it never got done. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner says “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? The popular term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of failing communication.

This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a kind of character defect. Accusing someone of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual culprit behind your selective hearing may not be a short attention span, it might be the early phases of hearing loss.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve most 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 part about cooking a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. That sort of thing.

As a behavior, selective hearing is extremely common. However, most research points to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How individuals are socialized does offer some context and it may 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 prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can produce gaps in communication

Communication will certainly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re probably not surprised by that.

But one notable sign of hearing loss is communication problems.

When hearing loss is in those very early phases, there aren’t going to be very many apparent symptoms. Perhaps you begin cranking the volume on your tv up. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing conversations. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. And so, besides that, you could go through the majority of your daily life without even noticing the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can gradually decline because of this. Up to the time you’re having trouble following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

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

So, your partner might suggest you schedule a hearing exam to find out if something is wrong.

Your partner’s worry is significant and it’s important for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply irritated with you.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

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 a few of those signs:

  • Having a hard time distinguishing consonants
  • Requesting that people speak slower and talk louder
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Hearing in crowds is difficult
  • Turning up the volume on your mobile phone, television, or radio

You should call us for a hearing test if you have any of these symptoms.

Always safeguard your hearing

It’s critical that you take measures to protect your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be certain that you wear 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 effectively.

In most cases throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as an indication that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.

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