The only one thing that you asked for was for the trash 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 says “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? This “selective hearing” is a normal sign that communication is failing.
This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing someone of intentionally not listening. But selective hearing could actually be related to untreated hearing loss rather than a short attention span.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that specific name. 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. That sort of thing.
As a behavior, selective hearing is very common. 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 might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is most likely another major aspect. 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 create gaps in communication
Communication will undoubtedly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. You’re most likely not surprised by that.
But here’s the thing: in many cases, communication issues are an indication of hearing loss.
When hearing loss is in those very early phases, there won’t be very many apparent symptoms. Maybe you start turning the volume on your tv up. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a drink at your local bar. It’s probably because the music is so loud, right? But besides situations like that, you might never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having trouble following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.
Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing
The people close to you will probably be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common irritation (even more frustrating when you already feel as if nobody is listening to you). But that aggravation often turns to worry when they realize that hearing loss may be the actual culprit.
So, your partner may recommend you set up a hearing exam to find out if something is wrong.
Your partner’s concern is significant and it’s important for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and accept their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply aggravated with you.
Other early signs of hearing loss
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. A few of those signs include:
- Consonants are hard to make out
- Turning up the volume on your mobile phone, television, or radio
- People sound distant or muffled when they talk
- Requesting that people speak slower and speak up
- Hearing in crowds is challenging
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.
Always protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is so essential to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid 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.
A diminishing attention span will be to blame for most 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 begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.