You asked for help with one basic chore: take out the trash. But, regrettably, it never was accomplished. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Why are you not surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they needed done? This “selective hearing” is a common sign that communication is failing.
This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a kind of character flaw. It’s as if you’re accusing somebody of deliberately 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 probably had at least one or more scenarios in your life where somebody has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the phrase “selective hearing”. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s useful to you but conveniently miss the part that’s negative. You hear the part about the chocolate cake, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. That kind of thing.
As a behavior, selective hearing is extremely common. But this behavior is more common in men than women, according to some research.
How people are socialized does provide some context and it may be tempting to make some assumptions from this. But hearing health is probably another major aspect. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication a great deal harder. You’re probably not shocked by that.
But one notable indication of hearing loss is communication issues.
When hearing loss is in those really early stages, there aren’t going to be a lot of obvious symptoms. Maybe you start turning the volume up on your tv. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing conversations. It’s probably because the music is so loud, right? But besides situations like that, you may never even observe how loud day-to-day sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having problems following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.
Your hearing health is worrying your partner
You will notice some of the people in your life are starting to be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a rather common aggravation (even more annoying when you already feel like no one is listening to you). But as it turns out more and more frequently, aggravation may turn to worry.
So, your partner might suggest you schedule a hearing test to find out if something is wrong.
Your partner’s worry is significant and it’s important for you to acknowledge that. Have an open discussion with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply 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. A few of those signs include:
- Difficulty hearing in crowds
- Requesting that people speak slower and speak up
- Speech sounds distant or muffled
- Cranking the volume up on your devices
- Having a difficult time making out consonants
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.
Always safeguard your hearing
Protecting your hearing is so essential to preventing hearing loss. Minimize your exposure to loud environments (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more successfully.
In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But you may want to take it as an indication that it’s time to get a hearing test when people around you start to notice your selective hearing getting worse.