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

You asked for help with one simple task: take the trash out. But, unfortunately, it never was accomplished. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Funny how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you requested from them. 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. It’s as if you’re accusing someone of purposely not listening. But selective hearing could actually be related to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.

Selective hearing – what is it?

You’ve probably been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if no one 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 part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. Things like that.

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

It may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from that (and the way that people are socialized definitely does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). But the other part of the picture might have something to do with hearing health. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it might be an indication that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Hearing loss can create gaps in communication

Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication much harder. That’s likely not that surprising.

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

Symptoms can be really hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early phases. Your tv might get a little louder. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a beverage at your local pub. You probably just presume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you might never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) deteriorate. Up to the time you’re having problems following daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your hearing health is concerning your partner

The people close to you will likely be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more aggravating when you already feel as if nobody listens to you). But as it turns out more and more often, irritation might turn to worry.

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 welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just aggravated with you.

Other early indications of hearing loss

You should be aware of some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing seems to be getting worse. A few of those signs include:

  • Cranking up the volume on your devices
  • Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants
  • Requesting that people speak slower and speak up
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Difficulty hearing in crowds

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.

Always protect your hearing

It’s essential that you take measures to safeguard your ears so that you can prevent hearing loss. Limit your exposure to noisy environments (or at least use earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Hearing aids can also help you communicate effectively, which can smooth over many rough spots that your hearing loss might have caused in the first place.

A diminishing attention span will be responsible for most selective hearing situations in your life. But when you (or somebody around you) observes your selective hearing getting worse, you may want to take that as an indication that it’s time to have your hearing assessed.

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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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