You asked for help with one basic task: take the trash out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they declare. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they wanted done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of failed communication.
This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing somebody of purposely not listening. But selective hearing may actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some time in your life, even if no one used that particular term. Selective hearing occurs when you can clearly hear information that’s beneficial to you but conveniently miss the part that’s negative. You hear the bit about the chocolate ice cream, but you miss the part about the calories. Things like that.
It’s very common for people to have selective hearing behavior. However, most research points to men failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.
How people are socialized does provide some context and it might be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But the other part of the situation might have something to do with hearing health. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can definitely make communication much harder. You’re most likely not shocked by that.
But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are an indication of hearing loss.
When hearing loss is in those very early stages, there aren’t going to be a lot of apparent symptoms. Perhaps you start cranking the volume on your tv up. 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 might never even notice how loud day-to-day sounds can be. This lets your hearing slowly (but surely) deteriorate. You hardly notice the problem until you’re at the point where you regularly have difficulty hearing conversations.
Your partner is becoming worried 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 relatively common annoyance (even more aggravating when you already feel as if nobody listens to you). But that aggravation often turns to concern when they realize that hearing loss might be the actual culprit.
So, your partner may suggest you schedule a hearing test to find out if something is wrong.
Your partner’s concern is significant and it’s important for you to recognize that. Talk openly with them and accept 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 has become worse over time, it might be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Some of those signs include:
- Turning up the volume on your mobile phone, television, or radio
- Hearing in crowds is difficult
- Consonants are hard to distinguish
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
- Requesting that people speak slower and speak up
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.
Use ear protection
Protecting your hearing is so crucial to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be certain that you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you communicate effectively, which can smooth over many rough spots that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.
A diminishing attention span will be to blame for most selective hearing situations in your life. But you might want to take it as a sign that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you begin to observe your selective hearing getting worse.