You asked for help with one simple chore: take the trash out. But, unfortunately, it never was accomplished. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of failing communication.
We tend to view selective hearing as a negative, kind of like it’s a character defect. It’s as if you’re accusing someone of intentionally not listening. But it’s possible that the real cause 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 been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that particular name. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s helpful to you but conveniently miss the bit that’s negative. You hear the part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. That sort of thing.
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.
It might be tempting to make some assumptions about that (and the way that people are socialized definitely does play a part in how this behavior is contextualized). But hearing health is probably another major aspect. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.
Communication can be impacted by hearing loss
Undiagnosed hearing loss can definitely make communication a great deal more difficult. You’re probably not surprised by that.
But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are a sign of hearing loss.
When hearing loss is in those very early phases, there aren’t going to be very many noticeable symptoms. Your tv may get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing conversations. It’s likely because the music is so loud, right? And so, besides that, you could go through most of your day-to-day life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can gradually deteriorate 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 worried about the health of your hearing
You will notice some of the people in your life are beginning to worry. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common annoyance (even more aggravating when you already feel like no one listens to you). But as it happens more and more often, aggravation might turn to worry.
So, your partner may suggest you set up a hearing test to find out if something is wrong.
Your partner’s concern is significant and it’s essential for you to acknowledge that. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t just aggravated with you.
Early hearing loss has a few other indicators
If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it may be worth watching out for some of these other early signs of hearing loss. Some of those signs include:
- Trouble hearing in crowds
- Turning up the volume on your mobile phone, television, or radio
- Having a difficult time distinguishing consonants
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
- Requesting that people speak slower and talk louder
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.
Use ear protection
Safeguarding your hearing is so crucial to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, make sure you wear hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you communicate effectively, which can smooth over many rough patches that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.
A diminishing attention span will be responsible for most selective hearing situations in your life. But you may want to take it as a sign that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you start to notice your selective hearing getting worse.