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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 garbage to be taken out. But, regrettably, it never was accomplished. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner replies “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 common sign that communication is failing.

We often think of selective hearing as a negative, sort of like it’s a character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing someone of intentionally not listening. But it’s possible that the real culprit behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it may be the early phases of hearing loss.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably had at least one or more situations in your life where someone has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the phrase “selective hearing”. Selective hearing occurs when you can clearly hear information that’s beneficial to you but conveniently miss the bit that’s negative. 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 incredibly common. However, most research points to men failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

It may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that people are socialized certainly does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). 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 prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will certainly be harder with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re most likely not shocked by that.

But one notable sign of hearing loss is communication problems.

When hearing loss is in those very early stages, there aren’t going to be very many obvious symptoms. Perhaps you begin cranking the volume up on your tv. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing conversations. 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 everyday life without even noticing the volume of the world around you. This lets your hearing gradually deteriorate. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

You will notice some of the people close to you are beginning to be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common aggravation (even more aggravating when you already feel like no one listens to you). But as it happens more and more frequently, irritation may 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 accept their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just irritated with you.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

You should watch out for some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing seems to be getting worse. Some of those signs include:

  • Turning up the volume on your mobile phone, television, or radio
  • Consonants are hard to distinguish
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds
  • Requesting that people talk slower and talk louder

You should contact us for a hearing exam if you have any of these symptoms.

Always safeguard your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is so crucial to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, make sure you wear 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 situations in your life. But when you (or somebody around you) notices your selective hearing getting worse, you might want to take that as an indication that it’s time to get your hearing checked.

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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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